I would like to begin by thanking John and Cassandra McKearn for providing me with this amazing opportunity this summer. Never in  my wildest dreams did I think that I would not only have a research internship this early in my college career but also be part of such an amazing program that inspires me daily to better myself.

I am so grateful for all the experiences we got to have this summer including volunteering at Camp Power, traveling and staying in St. Louis, various career development presentations, current event topic talks, and just living together and growing as a cohort and as a community.

Completing my research project this summer has been unlike any research experience I’ve had thus far. The ability to use my research project as my full time job has taught me a lot about what it’s like to work in a lab full time. Things go wrong, machines break and sometimes “workplace gab” can get in the way but each of those things contributed greatly to the real world experience I got to have this summer. The amount of time and effort I got to put into my project greatly accelerated my knowledge of my own research topic and also about Chemistry as a whole as well.

Being a McKearn Fellow is about more than just being a researcher. Being a McKearn Fellow means you are engaged in your community, aware of the world around you and the issues it beholds, caring and involved in your university and the students in it and finally that you love your field of study and that you understand what it means to be a part of that professional group. I have learned so much this summer about how to act as a professional from career development skills, to networking, to proper dining etiquette. I can confidently say that McKearn Fellows has prepared me for my next three years at school and the rest of my life.

The best part about this experience for my cohort is that this is only the beginning.

Keep Calm and Research On!