This past Friday, I was honored to be among the Novus International Scholars at the 5th Annual Novus Science in Action Day. I received a scholarship from Novus, a research corporation, and as part of that scholarship, I was invited to the day-long event during which we listened to the wisdom of speakers, learned about the work that Novus does, and took a trip to the butterfly house in Faust Park to meet the entomologist and take a tour of the lab and butterfly conservatory there.
WRITTEN A WEEK LATER:
As promised, here is some more fun info and insight about this day. (See my next blog post entitled “So Much to Do, So Little Time…” for info as to why I’m commenting on my own blog here!)
What really stuck out to me today was that I need to grasp every opportunity that comes my way. It can be really scary to branch out and do new things, but that’s something that you need to do in life in order to succeed. How should you do that? Do something crazy. Take an internship at a place that you think is really cool. Take twenty-semod hours in a semester and reflect on what you learned. Volunteer at a place with a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.
From my internship, I have a new friend who is from South America. He graduated with a degree in microbiology, and now he is in the United States to better his English. I think he’s extremely brave for leaving his country and everything that is familiar to him in order to better himself. And though I haven’t left my country (or even my home, for that matter) in order to take advantage of opportunities available to me, I feel as though I’ve been getting a lot better at taking risks that could benefit me in the future.
Another important thing I learned from Novus is that it’s okay to not like something. In fact, if you take a job or internship and end up not liking it, that experience will be as beneficial – if not even more beneficial – to you than a job or internship that you liked.
In short, try new things, don’t be afraid, and get yourself out there. You’ll be okay.
Yesterday, three other biology students and I took a road trip out to Novus, a scientific corporation that is attempting to utilize scientific knowledge and techniques in order to solve the problem of feeding our ever-growing population. We have been working on various experiments this school year, and we were able to present our findings to Novus scientists and other students from all over the state of Missouri.
I worked with Dr. Rayhel and Michael on a butterfly study. In a nutshell, we were trying to see if Dpp (or decapentaplegic) would induce spots on the butterfly wing. (Sounds fun, right?!) Our results were negative; it did not appear that injecting butterfly pupae with Dpp affected the development of spots on the wing. However, results are results, whether they’re positive or negative.
Yesterday, after being treated to a lovely breakfast complete one of the best organic smoothies I’ve ever tasted, a Novus scientist (who actually majored in immunology - my dream job!) gave us a presentation about his career path and how he ended up at Novus. This presentation was amazing. Not only did it give me a look at the life of someone like me, but he also almost gave a biology “lecture” while doing so. In his presentation, the scientist combined elements of cell biology, immunology, biochem, and genetics. I was so happy that I was able to keep up with what he was saying (for the most part, anyway). I felt like a lot of it was a review of the classes that I have or that I am currently taking – so that’s proof that Fontbonne offers a great biology curriculum and education!
After the presentation, we took a tour of the Novus labs and facilities. Then, we presented our experiments to the scientists and students. Later, we took a shuttle over to the St. Louis Science Center, where we attended a panel about how people with science degrees got into the career positions they currently hold.
All in all, the day was amazing. We agreed that it was one of our top five experiences while at Fontbonne. We loved the fact that we were reassurred that it’s okay not to have everything figured out as far as careers and graduate education go, and we enjoyed hearing from people who have “been there and done that.” Plus, we were able to network; I now have contact information for three people that I previously didn’t even know. As Andre put it, “The information that we got today was PRICELESS.” I couldn’t agree more.