This past summer, I had the opportunity to spend the summer at Michigan State University as a participant of the Biomedical Research for University Students in Health Sciences (BRUSH) program. Over the course of the eleven week program, I studied and researched the effects of hypertension on the carotid artery structure of C57BL6 mice.
Read on to learn more about BRUSH, my project, and my overall experience in the program!
Over the course of eleven weeks, I joined my labmates in completing a myriad of hands-on husbandry and laboratory procedures. Every weekday I worked in the Life Sciences Building, where I met with my lab supervisor and the other members of the lab. My day-to-day tasks were always different, and ranged from using Image J software to analyze and measure carotid arteries, to reading scholarly journal articles related to the research, to assisting with the implantation of osmotic mini-pumps into C57BL6 mice. Out of all of the tasks that I did, my favorite was sectioning mice brains using a cryostat. I had never used a cryostat before, and I felt like a true scientist as I prepared the brains and handled the machine.
Besides working in the lab, a large portion of the program was devoted to exposing students to professional development, graduate programs, and careers in research. We also learned how to create research posters, PowerPoints, and other informational resources. It was interesting to see how many opportunities exist in biomedical research and health sciences, and I enjoyed growing and learning with the other students in the program. We all lived in the same building, kayaked and attended other social events, and got to know each other and each other’s research.
We attended weekly Data & Dining sessions, which helped to prepare us for research presentation events. One such event was the Mid-Michigan Symposium for Undergraduate Research Experiences (Mid-SURE). Prior to Mid-SURE, I had little experience presenting a research poster at a symposium, and was admittedly nervous in the week leading up to the event. I began to feel a heavy dose of imposter syndrome, and wondered if I was capable of presenting research at such a large scale.
The day of the event, I was surprised to wake up feeling energized and ready to present my poster. As I got dressed, I felt all of my nervousness melt away, and I knew that I was ready. Once I arrived at the venue I set my poster up, took a few deep breaths, and began to present my poster and answer questions about my research. I felt invigorated, and found myself wanting to answer as many questions as possible.
My experience at Mid-SURE was definitely one for the books, and greatly prepared me for the remaining poster presentations of the program. One of the last things that I did through the BRUSH Program was attend the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium (NVSS). After a nine hour drive from East Lansing to St. Paul, Minnesota, we arrived at our hotel. The events for the week included lectures, social hour/ mixer events, speeches, and multiple poster presentation sessions. I was admittedly nervous about presenting during the poster session, as I was one of the few undergraduate students attending and presenting at the symposium. Luckily, my experience at Mid-SURE and the other presentation events of the program prepared me for my NVSS presentation, and gave me an extra boost of confidence in presenting to a larger audience.
All in all, I really enjoyed the BRUSH Program, and learned alot about myself in the process. I learned that I love presentations, which I admittedly shied away from prior to my participation in the program. In the future, I plan to use what I learned to teach others, and to continue to grow as a future scientist.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and for anyone interested I’ve attached the link and QR code to apply for the program below. Thank you for reading!