A Reflection on My Summer Research Experience

In these past 10 weeks, I’ve spent 250+ hours in the lab at the University of Scranton researching, running protocols and taking care of lab maintenance. I was able to broaden my technical skills through collaborations with two faculty members in the Chemistry department, Dr. Michael Fennie and Dr. Kate Stumpo. The field of Neuroscience is often heralded as a multidisciplinary area of study, taking expertise in fields of biology, psychology, chemistry, physics and others to understand the mechanisms of cognitive function such as we do in the Biopsychology Lab under Dr. Orr.  I found the times spent discussing research with other faculty or student members to be the most rewarding part of my internship. At times my internship was difficult, especially the moments when certain protocols were unsuccessful or obstacles arose due to temperamental machinery. We had difficulty getting a protein concentration curve, setting me off on a week of problem solving with the protocol, but ending up with no resolution. Additionally, more time was spent tweaking the machinery needed for analysis than I had anticipated.  I’m grateful for the opportunity I had this summer to intern with the Biopsychology lab where I could learn the basic schedule of day to day research. I was able to gain technical skills with protocols for Western Blotting, organic chemistry synthesis, and protein extraction and permethylation in addition to learning about the funding and ordering resources available for a research lab. My pursuit of answers to the questions I ask regarding normal or abnormal brain function, can be answered through my work as a researcher in Neuroscience. However, it can take longer to yield results and require the inclusion of other scientists for a holistic understanding of neural function, and this internship has only confirmed for me that I can be successful as a researcher to add toward our current theories.

Cassie Stapf
Neuroscience and Philosophy

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