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Week 10 - last day!

Wow. It's weird to think this is my last day. Ten weeks in is practically nothing for research! Now I definitely understand why phD's take so long...and why the time it takes can vary so much! This post has nothing to do with my research--if you want to know about it, look at my powerpoint from the previous post. I'm going to try to sum up my overall impression from the summer.

I have to say, I've learned a ton. I think I have a pretty good picture about what research is now, it's not quite what I expected it to be (though I honestly don't quite remember what I had expected). It's been fun, frustrating, exciting, and tedious all at once. I have to admit that I wasn't prepared for my experience--labs for class, regardless of how much you learn, doesn't touch on the actual research experience. Sure, I learned how to do the basics--make a pH buffer, do titrations, and while those are necessary, those are nowhere near all that's needed to successfully conduct research. In dealing with such large quantity of data, organization, consistency, and keeping track of it all is a huge task in itself--as I'm getting ready to leave, getting all of that together in a semi-organized fashion is proving rather difficult.

As of now, I don't have a clue to whether the research I've done will be useful or not. I'm crossing my fingers it will be, but I've come to realize that the entire research process takes years, not weeks! I was initially frustrated that much of what I've done has proven to be simply a trial and error of what doesn't work. I haven't quite gotten to an electrode works perfectly yet, so in that sense, I felt slightly that I haven't truly accomplished anything. However, I know that in the bigger picture, my efforts will help my group decide the direction of future research. Hopefully someone will be able to build on what I've found so far, starting where I left off. And, I guess even if its decided that my project shouldn't be further pursued, that's a definite accomplishment too--somebody needed to try it.

Perhaps I sound a little negative or jaded, but I'm not! I'm very thankful of my experience here, and am amazed by how much I've learned. From what a potentiostat and cyclic voltammetry are to how to efficiently present my data to how to effectively analyze data and figure out the next step...I can't possibly list in on blog entry everything I've learned. I can take so much of my experience here and bring it into my future studies--this will definitely not be the only research I ever conduct, so this experience has built a solid foundation of skills of which I will use in the future!

Thanks EBS (and CMOP) and Vanessa for this wonderful opportunity! Continue offering internships in the future! And I hold inexpressible gratitude for my mentor, Jim Nurmi, and senior scientest, Paul Tratynek. They've been extremely valuable resources to me this summer.