A Student’s Perspective on Research; Summer’s Story

Research makes an impact. We see time and time again that students who are involved in research find the experience to be beneficial in  many ways. From promoting  the idea of attending Grad school, to gaining new skills and friendships, research experience impacts the  way you grow academically and personally.

Summer Blunk, a senior majoring in Molecular & Cellular Biology, shared the story of her research experience with our team. From learning new skills to traveling to present her work, Summer found her experience to be one-of-kind.

We asked Summer what she gained from her research experience and she immediately started telling us about the new skills she had learned and put into practice. “I have gained too many skills to count” she related, “My favorite skill gained is definitely statistical analysis and graphical output for our project, but I have learned many valuable bench-top skills as well.”

As summer relates, research o involves learning many different technical skills that not only help with the project at hand, but are transferrable to other jobs and research positions. Graduate programs and hiring committees love to hear applicants speak of specific experiences they have had, projects they have completed, and lessons they have learned from these experiences.For this reason, many students identify their hands-on experience using newly-obtained skills as one of the most valuable parts of their research experience..

We always talk about the benefits of research because there are so many. However, each student values their research experience differently. Summer explained how her research experience supported her decision to continue on to graduate school.  It  has also given her the opportunity to travel to share her research with others.

“My undergraduate research experience benefitted me because it solidified my choice to continue my career path into graduate school. [Because of research] I was able to go to an international conference in Canada and share my research!”

Summer Blunk, Molecular & Cellular Biology

Many students like Summer are conducting research and getting the most from their experience. The first step can feel frightening or uncertain, but students who do research will tell you to take the leap. Working in research as an undergraduate can be a life-changing experience, as the students who share their stories have shown.

So, what are you waiting for? Challenge yourself to talk to a professor conducting research in a subject you find interesting. Research topics can range from the lab sciences, to art programs, music, education, political science, questions about race and gender, and more! Summer encourages interested students not to be shy when thinking about talking to faculty: “They want to help, and they love when students want to talk to them about their research.”

By Sarah Randolph
Sarah Randolph