As I look back on this summer, I see myself in a period of diligence and frustration but also of satisfaction and wonder. I began my time in the INBRE program, thinking of it as a test—a time to examine and see if this world of research was right for me. I have worked in research labs for the past three years and never felt a strong connection. In fact, I was often intimidated by the amount I did not know and recurrently exhausted by the questions brought before me. Before this summer, I was fairly certain a life in research was not for me. But now, as I look forward towards my future, all of that has changed.
My time in Dr. Pak’s organometallic chemistry lab has been incredibly influential. Reflecting on the summer and the project I’ve worked so hard on, I can see my results building from start to finish—first in working to synthesize new ligands, then using those to form novel metal-organic frameworks, and proceeding to design and execute studies to test and illustrate their adsorptive properties. Throughout this time, I have gained a sense of confidence in my work as I overcome the obstacles set before me, be they instruments breaking or molecules refusing to be purified. My problem-solving skills have been advanced incredibly, to the point where I see research as a promising challenge rather than an intimidation.
All the skills I have gained this summer will propel me forward. As I look to the future, I am excited to continue research in graduate school and beyond. It is just the beginning and there is still so much to learn, but I am proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish and thankful for those who have helped me along the way. The summer has flown by—a summer as educational as it was motivating. I am sad to see it come to a close. But as Sophocles declared long ago, “The long unmeasured pulse of time moves everything. There is nothing hidden that it cannot bring to light, nothing once known that may not become unknown. Nothing is impossible.”