My undergraduate experience in a research lab
December 16, 2019

For the past semester, I have been working with Dr. Studer in his research lab. The biggest reason that I wanted to work in a lab was to continue to build my resume and gain lab experience. I also wanted to find out if I enjoyed working in a lab setting as I might be in a career field that requires a lot of time in a lab. It is also helpful to be able to practically apply what I have learned in class into real scenarios.

I learned about Dr. Studer’s lab through the CPSC 102 course during the fall of my freshman year. During freshman year, I worked at a job off-campus. However, going into my sophomore year I knew I wanted to gain lab experience while also being able to work on campus. In the summer before my sophomore year, I emailed Dr. Studer a copy of my resume and asked if he had any available positions for undergraduate students in the upcoming year. Fortunately, he had a position open and we scheduled an interview for when I returned to campus.

Dr. Studer offered me the job and I began work within the second week of the semester. One of the things I did was corn leaf counting. Before harvest, I took detailed notes about the final amount of leaves on each different line of corn in the field. I also assisted in the harvest of the corn from the field. Once all of the corn was harvested, I shelled the corn and placed the kernels into the correct envelope with the corresponding bar code.

I also assisted with the harvest of sorghum plants from the field. After the sorghum was harvested we threshed the stalks to see how much juice was produced from each line to see which would be best for biofuel production. After all of the outside crops were harvested we began work in the greenhouses. I have planted and transplanted corn and sorghum into different rooms of the greenhouses. Trimming grasses is another task that I occasionally perform in the greenhouse. I have also been able to learn about the basic process of performing DNA extractions in the lab.

Overall, working with Dr. Studer has been a fantastic experience thus far. Not only is working in a lab a great learning opportunity and resume builder, but it is also an extremely fun work environment and I look forward to going to work each day.