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Austin: My Summer Job

Colleen excited about flies!

Team Fly- Summer 2013

My micro-dissection setup

Team Fly’s “Office”

 

I can’t believe the school year has started and is going straight ahead, full-speed. This past summer went way too fast, especially because I didn’t leave campus. I was fortunate enough to be hired as a full time research assistant in the Lab I started working in last January. We call ourselves “Team Fly” because we work with Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies); there were three of us working full time this Summer, as well as our adviser, Dr. Catherine Reinke. I cannot begin to explain how many things I learned this summer; I learned everything from basic lab techniques, to highly innovative, and new techniques, to the basics of working in a research lab, to how to officially compile data, analyze it, and prepare it for publication. I was like a sponge, taking in everything I possibly could and then practicing it. One of the highlights for me was learning how to isolate and sequence a gene; something that I find fascinating. I started on this specific project in late June, and after many trials and errors, between my adviser, my coworkers, and myself, we came up with a new strategy on how to go about sequencing. We finally made the correct concentration, and were able to send it off for sequencing (clear to New Jersey!), and I will never forget the morning I woke up to the results; it was like I was a little kid on Christmas morning. Most of all, I loved actually being a scientist for a few months. All through high school and introductory lab courses seemed to be like a cookbook of experiments, with every approach and detail already written. However, doing research is much different; you have a lot more control and are able to explore and attempt new things you would never think of in a class. I am so grateful for the opportunity to research, and especially appreciate the benefit of getting paid to learn! I am going full-speed in the semester, and can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Until next time,

-Austin