Participating in Research Rookies freshman year has gotten me hooked. Now, I can’t get enough of research. I have always loved learning about various topics and in multiple ways, so I guess it’s no real surprise that I love research. As the title of this post implies, I am working on some new projects this year! One of which I am doing through the Research Rookies program, and the other I am doing due to the inspiration and help that the Research Rookies program and its team provided.
As I said, I like to learn about many topics in different ways. So, for this year, I decided to get into a more typical lab setting. But, since I apparently don’t do anything by the book, I decided to get involved in a lab in the Psychology Department. Yes, I am a Biology major working in a Psychology lab. However, there is some method to the madness. I want to learn about as many aspects of animal research as possible, and the lab I am working in now works with rats! Oh they are so cute! They really are a lot of fun, and I’ve already learned a ton this year. In these first few months, I have run some trials with the rats all by myself, I have gathered and analyzed data, made graphs from the data, made a poster for a presentation, assisted with minor surgeries, created microscope slides from tissue, analyzed the tissue samples, learn about histology, and much more! I am so excited to be working in this lab, because the amount of things I can learn seems endless! If I have learned this much in a few months, just imagine what I will learn throughout the rest of the year! The lab also lets me be very involved, and helps me every step of the way. I am a part of a team, and I might even be running my own study next semester! Overall, I’ve already had an amazing experience, and I am looking forward to what it yet to come!
The office that runs the Research Rookies program also oversees a program called USOAR – Undergraduate Special Opportunities in Artistry and Research. Essentially, this is a grant program that will allocate a student up to $2,500 for a project!
Once again, I came up with a crazy idea. Long story short, I found the only primate rehabilitation center in Argentina was looking for volunteers, and decided that I would like to work with monkeys and improve my Spanish. So, I applied to volunteer in Argentina for six weeks over this coming summer. Because it is just a volunteer trip, I have to fund the trip myself. This is where I was able to incorporate USOAR, and make my goal of volunteering in Argentina more of a reality. I once again addressed a professor, (this time from Anthropology) to see if she would be willing to be my faculty support for my Argentina research. She too, was a little skeptical at first, but was incredibly helpful from the start. I came up with the idea to analyze facial expressions in the monkeys, and compare them to the already documented expressions of other types of monkeys and apes. Now that I had the support of a faculty member and a research idea, I was able to submit a proposal for a USOAR grant. I haven’t heard back yet, but I’ll keep you all updated as I find out more.
All of these incredible experiences that I have had this year are all in part because of the Research Rookies program. It helped give me the confidence to approach professors and pursue my crazy ideas. No we’ll just have to wait and see what happens! 🙂
Thanks for reading!