Tag: research (page 1 of 3)

“My Research Experience” by Brittany Connely

Research. Honestly, the thought of it is simultaneously exciting and intimidating. Everyone tells you to get involved as soon as possible, especially when you’re on the path towards medical and graduate school.

 But how do you even get involved? When I was a freshman in the honors program this was my main question. It was daunting, all the people I had met just said to email around and ask professors if they had spots open in their labs, to just look around and explore. You might get rejected, but I was told I’d eventually find a place right for me. I was overall lost in the whole process though. I didn’t have any idea of what to do research in and if I was even interested in pursuing it while in college. I only knew that’s what others said I should do.

So when I was scrolling through Handshake and saw a job listing for a student research assistant, I applied. I was nervous, scared I wasn’t going to have the skills needed, and wondering what it would even be like. Little did I know, interviewing for that new position would lead me down a whole new path.

I am now part of the University of Delaware Center of Health Assessment Research and Translation as a research assistant. My main job has been coding, but not in the traditional sense that most people would think of. I go through transcripts of past study groups and apply a codebook to them in a program called “Nvivo”. The goal of my part of this is to find which symptoms correspond and overlap for people with major injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

I absolutely love my job and being part of this research project. While going through 70 page transcripts doesn’t sound exciting, being able to read and hear about people’s stories makes the time pass by. Through reading the effects one’s injury has had on their life not only physically but emotionally, I feel like I am learning another side to the story. As a neuroscience major I have learned about the causes and effects and symptoms of certain things like TBI, however, my job allows me to be in someone else’s shoes and see it not just through the eye of a clinician but also a patient.

This was not what I expected research to be like. Honestly, when I was first looking into research I was expecting to be in a lab doing benchwork. But through learning more about clinical research, I have discovered a whole new world that I want to continue being part of. I believe learning more not only about issues medically but also how they affect others in different ways will make me a better doctor and help me on the path towards my future career.

I think that being part of something new and constantly evolving is thrilling. Being involved in research is something I am extremely grateful for and think that everyone should at least try to do once. So I encourage you to gain the courage, take a chance, and email that professor and or apply for the position. You never know how much impact it’ll have on you unless you try. 

 

“A Win for Winter!” by Jenny Gloyd

This winter, I was fortunate enough to be part of undergraduate research on campus. I learned new laboratory techniques and experienced some new chemistry first hand. I also found out that I really enjoy what winter at the University of Delaware has to offer, and I thought I would share some of my thoughts here. 

First, it was an entirely different feeling from fall and spring semesters at UD. The whole campus was much quieter, and most buildings and restaurants around campus had reduced hours. It was a good change of pace, there were less people walking across the green, and shorter lines at places such as Einstein’s Bagels — which I frequented over the winter session. Places that were normally noisy became quiet study spots and the reduced hours for many buildings forced me to be efficient with my time, and to stay organized. I also took advantage of the lack of crowds to start going to the Little Bob more often. I developed a gym routine I liked, and made a habit of going by the time spring semester started. 

Second, really focusing on one task was a very valuable experience in my opinion. I was able to put all of my effort into research this winter, without also having to juggle multiple classes. It turned into a morning routine to sit down with a coffee and read from chemistry journals, something I had told myself I was going to do, but never could find the time for until this winter. I learned about the type of chemistry I was involved in, and what my research group was working on, as well as reminding myself of the basics. I understand now why people sit down with a coffee and a newspaper in the morning; it was very peaceful and I felt like I accomplished something before the day even started. On top of that, when spring semester rolled around, I had already been able to dedicate the time to understand the research I was doing, and to learn new laboratory techniques important to the project. I am now more confident in the lab, and it has allowed me to accomplish more this semester despite splitting my time between classes and research. 

I also would recommend, if you stay for the winter, to use it as an opportunity to work within your future field. I have already mentioned that I have learned an insane amount of chemistry over these past weeks, but I also was able to learn what it is like to work in an academic lab. I am one of the only undergraduates in my lab, and so I am mostly working with professionals. It was very valuable to see how others with more experience were able to collaborate and problem solve. I learned how best to communicate my ideas, and to ask questions. I saw how others in the lab communicated their ideas in our weekly meetings, and it inspired me to be a good and informative scientist.

Winter at UD is very worthwhile to gain a different perspective on campus and to dedicate your time to something you care about. I hope this encourages others to seek out more opportunities on campus outside of the fall and spring semesters.

“Sleep: An Unrecognized Treasure” by Ryan Dean

There are certain practices that are familiar to all college students; chief among them being the “all-nighter.” In our hectic lives, sleep is often the first resource abandoned in favor of studying or hanging with friends. This is a real shame, because sleep is far more significant to an individual’s well-being than most people realize. In this post, I’m going to make the case for sleep, and ideally open a few eyes to the necessity of this forgotten practice.

Let’s start with the basics: what is sleep? A good night’s rest can be broken down into 5 phases, which are cycled through repeatedly as one sleeps. As we progress through these stages, the body moves into an increasingly deeper sleep, until finally reaching REM sleep. It is at this point that we experience dreams. So called “deep sleep” and REM are the most critical phases, and receiving an adequate amount of each is necessary to feel rested in the morning. In fact, if an individual is suddenly awoken during REM sleep, their body will instinctually move directly into that phase the next time the person sleeps. And while this is all fascinating, it isn’t entirely clear why we sleep. That said, the effects of sleep deprivation are evident and worrisome. Continue reading

“Friends 4 Friends” by Avery Beer

Friends 4 Friends: a new community, a new movement, and one of the new RSO’s on UD’s campus. It is an empowering community of students who are actively changing the way mental health is viewed on our campus and raising funds to better our campus’ resources along the way. This is the way we are ditching stigmas centered around mental health and standing up to be advocates for ourselves and for each other.

In September of 2016, we lost a fellow blue hen, a passionate friend, and someone loved by so many. Connor Mullen, who I did not personally know, took his own life tragically, and his presence is missed every day. I remember exactly where I was on the day when we all mourned his loss together as a college campus. I remember feeling immense sorrow, to the point of tears, despite not even knowing him. I have always felt a deep connection to this cause after my mom’s long battle with depression, which eventually led to her suicide when I was just seven years old, so I felt the need to be there for the people that I know and loved that were so heartbroken by his loss. I remember writing a blog about it on this day, featured on my personal blog, so I’m just going to give a quick excerpt from that to show how emotional it was for many. I wrote: Continue reading

In the [research] Trenches 12.4.12

As the semester finishes up we get an update from Alexandra Bayles and Matthew Sinnott on their senior theses.

Alexandra Bayles: “Morphological Responsiveness of Anisotropic Partially Crystalline Emulsion Colloids”

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The thing that I find most exciting about the research I’m doing for my thesis is that the work has relevant, practical implications outside of the academic world. I’ve been incredibly fortunate over the past 1.5 years to collaborate with researchers in industry throughout my work. Throughout the collaboration, we have drawn from one another’s results to advance both the physical understanding of the PCE phenomena and ultimately utilize this understanding to engineer products.

The most challenging part about the research I’m doing is finding the time to go into lab and conduct experiments. The fall semester of senior year is particularly busy for many seniors–not only do we have difficult capstone classes within our major, but many of us are also applying for graduate fellowships and research programs. There are many days where I wish I could forgo doing coursework and writing applications and instead spend the entire day in lab. By writing a thesis, I expect to learn how to better communicate my experimental results to audiences both familiar and unfamiliar with my field of research.

After graduating, I intend to go to graduate school to complete a PhD. Writing this senior research thesis not only improves my chance at being accepted into top graduate programs, but has also given me a preview of the work that I will do while in graduate school.

Matthew Sinnott: “Damage sensing in composite structures for the development of a health monitoring system and sensing self-healing capabilities”

I am excited to continually learn more about my research by reading articles and discovering what is done as other universities. Because the field is emerging into an area where there are new projects being explored everyday the scope of my project is constantly changing. The most challenging part of the research that I am doing is organizing all of my data and information nicely. There is a lot of different data that I am collecting with every test that needs to be evaluated and interpreted.

I am hoping to have a better understanding of how a final report should look before submitting it for publication. Writing a thesis should help me improve my technical writing skills and be better prepared for graduate school After graduation I am hoping to get a job in industry and work towards my master’s degree as a part time student. During interviews a lot of potential employers question me about my experience as an undergraduate researcher. After writing a thesis I have a better understanding of the small details of my project and feel comfortable explaining these details in a professional setting.

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