The 2019 BME Summer Scholars had a blast at the 2019 Annual BMES Meeting in Philadelphia last week!
As the summer comes to an end, I will cherish the experience I was granted and the people I was able to meet. For me, these ten weeks were really rewarding. From working on a research project looking at a new way to deliver therapeutics to cancer cells to exploring everything Austin has to offer, it’s been 10 weeks of adventure. Looking back at my research, I was truly amazed to see how much I was able to get done. From the very first day in lab it was full speed ahead, and through all the mistakes and the long, weird hours, I am proud of what I was able to accomplish this summer. At times it was stressful, and I was tired and just wanted to go sleep, but I pushed through and because of that I’ve grown as a researcher and as a person because of it.
You will only be successful if you are willing to put in work and makes sacrifices, and in the end, it makes everything you have accomplished that much sweeter.
This summer I also learned how creative research can be. There is no set solution that we must use in order to solve any one problem, instead the best solutions may actually be completely different than what is being used today. This was the case for my project as we were able to utilize an already present cellular mechanism to deliver chemotherapeutics, and our solution has the potential to be more efficient than current drug delivery systems used to treat cancer. While it is still being studied, the possibility of my project improving current cancer treatment excites me and inspires me to continue with research in hopes of being able to make a difference in the world. My ten weeks in Austin have taught me that research has no boundaries and as long as we continue to pursue it, no problem cannot be solved.
Research was fun, but to be honest the thing I will miss the most from this summer will be the people I got to meet. My Hawaiian shirt will hang proudly in my closet, holding the many memories we have made over these ten weeks. From the first night playing cards together as a group of twelve to the weekly Bachelorette watch parties, I enjoyed coming back from long hours in lab to relax with the other students in the program. From the first weekend trip scootering to Barton Springs to watching fireworks at Zilker Park on the 4th of July to all the food adventures throughout Austin, I would not have explored Austin with another group of people (though nothing beats Los Angeles in terms of food). With all the laughing at stupid jokes and shouting at the TV when watching Hannah B. at the rose ceremony, this summer has been anything but boring. This group of people was something truly special and I expect we will all go on to do great things in the future. Leaving will be hard, but I believe this isn’t the final goodbye. To BMES we go, but Philadelphia will not be the last time we will meet.
Here is a glimpse of what we did this summer…
Joshua Ni, Johns Hopkins University
Not going to lie, the poster and abstract week might have been the most stressful part of this summer.
In my opinion, this past week was the culmination of our research this summer because it was the week where we had to take our experiences and condense it to just the informative, practical, and educational aspects. It was particularly difficult for me because I have never written something like an abstract or made a scientific poster, so I was still learning as I went. What made it a little more difficult is that my specific research this summer has largely been working on my mentor’s project which won’t be finished while I’m here, so at first I didn’t really know what to write about. So the closer we got to the deadline the more stressed I got, but eventually, my mentor was a big help and worked me through some of my initial ideas and gave me some advice and edits, and eventually my poster and abstract were ready to go.
Leading up to the poster session, I had been really worried about presenting my research because I felt I didn’t know enough about my project. I asked my mentor and other people in my lab questions about some of the most basic things of our lab just to make sure I had it right or knew what I was saying. I spent the nights before the session just practicing my speaking and going over the information on the poster, and still, I felt unsure about my abilities, which I think is natural. After talking to the other interns, I almost feel that I went overboard on the preparation for the presentation, but I did it anyway because above all I wanted to feel confident in what I was saying and know that it was true.
The poster session turned out to be not nearly as bad as I thought it would be (Check at the end for lots of photos). My biggest takeaways from the poster session were that I knew more than I thought I did and that speaking about my project was scary the first two times, but after that, it wasn’t stressful at all. I remember being really afraid when the first person came to my poster and I explained to them my research, but by the third or fourth person I realized that I didn’t have to worry, I just had to say what I know. One of the graduate students in my lab complimented my confidence in my presentation, saying that using confidence when speaking is one of the most important parts about a scientific presentation.
But something that I will never forget is the feeling of being surrounded by all these posters with amazing work on them. Something I wish I got the chance to do was to walk around more because I didn’t get to see nearly as many posters as I had liked.
Everyone in that room had been doing amazing work this summer, from ethnic demographic research of the city of Austin to cancer research to research about fire ants, there were just so many great ideas and posters that represented months of hard work.
Everyone in that room is an incredibly driven and intelligent person, and it’s realizations like that that make me excited to be apart of a community like this.
This was my first poster presentation, and I’m really glad it happened. I feel like every time afterward won’t nearly be as scary, I just had to rip the band-aid off this first time. Poster presentations and scientific meetings or conventions, in general, are important because I feel like they are the gathering place of scientific thought, the birthplace of scientific inspiration and innovation. Where intellectuals from many different backgrounds doing their own amazing work all come together to admire and celebrate the work of the scientific community as a whole. Now, I’m not saying that this small poster presentation by University of Texas undergraduates achieved all of this, but that it was a smaller representation of the larger scientific community, and it’s how I imagine the BMES conference will be like in Philadelphia. Can’t wait 🙂
-Michael Miramontes, University of Notre Dame
Here are the photos I promised!