During this summer, there were many tasks and accomplishments that supported my learning goals. My learning goals for my summer internship were academic, career, and personal. My academic goal was to become adept at a variety of research and laboratory techniques. During the summer, I fulfilled this goal through learning a variety of multidisciplinary techniques such as immunohistochemistry, western blotting, immunoprecipitation, neuronal cell culture and EEG implantation and signal analysis. I was able to not only learn about these techniques, but also delve deeper into the importance of these techniques for the characterization, diagnoses and prevention of neurological disorders. This was achieved through careful observation of my mentors and allowed me to garner a true understanding of the depth of this research.
A career goal I had for the summer was to further explore the world of laboratory-based research. I achieved this goal through close observation and reflection on my many responsibilities, including performing experiments, analyzing data, scientific writing of papers and presenting data. I truly experienced the day-to-day responsibilities and expectations of a research scientist and expanded my affinity for laboratory-based research.
My personal goal for the summer was to become an important contributor within the lab and help the efforts of the special research team I was a part of. I achieved this goal through active participation. Rather than being a passive onlooker, I strove to make a difference in the research efforts of the laboratory and contribute my own thoughts. As an undergraduate with a passion for laboratory and investigative work, I was overjoyed to perform independent research and to undertake lab responsibilities. I contributed by performing lab work as efficiently and accurately as possible in order to yield valid results, I assisted in the drafting of a research paper describing all of our work, and I presented this research at the Lerner Research Institute Undergraduate Research Symposium.
I will most certainly build off this experience throughout the rest of my time at Brandeis. I will take the skills I learned into future labs I work in, as well as apply them to my classwork. These skills include hard work, perseverance, integrity of results, and cooperation with collaborators. This internship has opened my eyes to traumatic brain injuries and concussions, and I will continue to pursue this interest to further the research in this field.
Having completed my internship, I still have a lot I want to learn. My pursuit of knowledge is insatiable. The field of traumatic brain injuries is a never-ending realm of diagnoses, complications and unknown variables. I would love the opportunity to pursue answers to these questions in my future endeavors. I want to learn what causes these brain complications, how they can be monitored in athletes, and even how to prevent long-term concussive consequences. Additional experiences I would like to take on include participating actively in similar traumatic brain injury research laboratories and getting the chance to revisit this field, bringing my unique perspective and experiences with me.
To any student interested in an internship at the Cleveland Cinic Lerner Research Institute, I suggest emailing principal investigators early and often. I had to send out many emails and wade through a lot of rejections before I found a lab with undergraduate availability that was willing to accept me. Be diligent and determined. For a student wanting an internship in the traumatic brain injury field as a whole, I suggest researching the many facets of the field before applying. In this way, you can determine what area of the field truly interests you. There are so many variations of the research that can be explored. My interest happened to be relevant to sports because I myself am an athlete. Know what you want and fearlessly pursue it!
Thank you to everyone at the Janigro lab for making my summer amazing and memorable! Thanks especially to WOW for the support in pursuing my love of research.
Maddie Engler, ’16