Internship, Co-op or Research Site:Summers Lab, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Position Title: Research Assistant
Major(s)/Minor(s):Biological Sciences Major, Chemistry and Psychology Minors and Honors Certificate
Work Term:Spring 2018-Present
Tell us about your internship, co-op, or research opportunity, including your day-to-day responsibilities.
I joined Dr. Summers lab in January 2018, right after I finished my first semester as a transfer student at UMBC. At Dr. Summers lab, each graduate student and postdoc has their own group. When I first joined the lab, I was able to shadow different groups and ended up being part of Dr. Joshua Brown’s group. Being a part of this group, allowed me to learn to become independent, work on a project on my own and train other students. This research opportunity has allowed me to improve my public speaking, critical thinking, communication and time management skills. Since I joined the lab, I have been able to present my research poster 4 times including at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). Joining Dr. Summers lab has allowed me to learn and develop many laboratory skills such as Pipetting Techniques, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Trial Transcription, Large Scale Transcription Reaction, Gel Agarose Electrophoresis, and Bacterial Transformation. My day to day responsibilities in my group includes preparing samples, performing gel studies, planning my every day in advance and writing and reflecting on what I do daily.
Describe the process of obtaining your position. When did you hear of the position and submit your application?
I transferred to UMBC from Howard Community College (HCC) fall of 2017. As a pre-med transfer junior student, I did not know much about research opportunities on campus but I knew I wanted to do research and I saw a lot of UMBC students being involved in research. I asked around and learned that I should just email different professors in Biology and Chemistry departments and ask to see if they have any research opportunities available for undergraduate students. I specifically learned about Dr. Summers lab through a teacher assistant from one of my classes. I emailed my resume to Dr. Summers, specified my interest and asked if I could join his lab. I received an email couple weeks after I applied, had an interview, and was able to start working in the lab right after the fall semester ended, in the beginning of January 2018.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization?
I have enjoyed learning, collaborating and sharing ideas in my group, being assigned my own project, and being able to train other students the most about my position. I also enjoyed traveling to go to a conference, presenting my research at a national level and learning about what other students all over the Unites States are performing research on. What I enjoy the most about the lab that I work in is the fact that it is a very supportive and friendly environment and that we have fun activities such as going on annual ski trip or a picnic or eating at a restaurant together.
How do you believe you have made an impact through your work?
Working hard toward a certain goal and trying to test if a hypothesis is correct or not helps me to believe that I have made an impact. Structural studies that are performed in our lab are done to solve a specific structure and function of 5´ leader of HIV-1 RNA genome. Once a structure is determined more specifically, better therapeutics could be find to help individuals infected with HIV. Aiming and working hard to study a certain part of the 5´ leader of HIV-1 RNA genome help me to believe that I have made an impact.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
My advice would be to ask around, be persistent, email different professors and send them your resumes that highlight your strengths. Also, do not give up easily and keep searching until you find a research experience that you are looking for.
Like the Career Center on Facebook
Want to be the next Intern of the Week? Make sure to fill out this form and stay tuned. New interns are announced every Friday!