So far, Idaho State University’s INBRE program has been pretty relaxed. During the first few weeks, I found myself getting to know people in the program more than anything. It’s nice to know I’ll be interacting with a good group of people who all seem knowledgeable, attentive, and eager. My mentor and I sketched out a plan for the summer and hammered out what’s and the why’s of her expectations of me. She’s largely left me to my own devices, checking in weekly to ensure that I’m staying on track.
In the lab, I’m training and being trained. Mentoring is a new beast for me to tackle and I can only trust that my mentee is doing well by what she is telling me, only time will tell. As far as being trained, different projects, as you can probably imagine, require a handful of new techniques and skills to learn. I’ve had the good fortune to be placed under grad students who not only know what they’re doing, but go one step further by making sure the lab environment is personal and friendly.
Now, regarding the research itself, I’ve been fully immersed and spectacularly overwhelmed with information. I’m in the literature review portion of my project so I’m unearthing many different ideas from my own. It seems that there’s always something new and interesting to read and someone to talk about it with. The mentors are intelligent, wise, and ready to hobnob about all the exciting possibilities with any enthusiastic ear. The fellows, too, are sociable, chit chatting about everything from lab work to lunch choices. This, clearly, isn’t some stuffy, rigid program.
Dr. Austin reminds us, we “have a great opportunity, so, work hard and make good connections.” To be able converse openly and have attentive and helpful people available really makes this experience enjoyable. It’s hard not to be thankful. Three weeks in and I, for one, am excited to see what the rest of the summer has in store.