Hello one last time!
Yesterday the Research Intensives students left after engaging in six weeks of research. They were the first group to arrive and the last to leave, they saw two full sessions come and go, and spent as much time at UMass this summer as I did.
I'm not gonna lie, I was impressed by this group of kids. Not every high schooler can stay away from home for more than a month, and especially be capable of achieving what these students did in a matter of six weeks.
Up until now I hadn't been able to see the students at work, but thankfully that changed over this past week as I managed to visit 9 students in 5 different labs.
On Tuesday afternoon I visited Morty and Jess Y (aka baby Jess) at the Dumont lab. This lab specializes on the biomechanics and evolution of mammals. Morty studied biomechanics of moles while Jess focused on the evolution of various rodent families.
On Wednesday morning I went to the Karlstrom lab, where Laura and Sankirth were working on a joint poster about stem cells in zebrafish and their regenerative capabilities. Later that day I headed to the Park Lab and found Jenna and Parisa performing some cell cultures.
On Thursday I made two quick lab visits to see what the other students were up to. In the morning I visited the Adler lab, where Thuyen and Adrienne showed me how they dissect bees, and how they extract extra queens from colonies. Being in a small room with a bee escaping its colony isn't my ideal Thursday morning, but in a very unique way I enjoyed it.
Later that day I stopped by the Ma lab in the modern College of Natural Science Greenhouses, where Jess S (not baby Jess) was performing some general plant care, as all of her research in fungal pathogenicity was done.
Friday began early as we set up for the final poster presentations in the atrium of ISB. The students then presented the fruits of their hard work. The ISB lobby was soon flooded by not only the PAs and mentors but also by other faculty and, of course, parents.
I was impressed by the research the students had done. It was all carefully planned; from the theory to the results everything made sense. I'm used to reading extensive research papers by scientists, and these compressed versions presented by the students didn't fall short in any way. I don't think I would be able to do something like this myself.
That evening the PAs and I went to Pasta E Basta for one last dinner with the students. I'm very grateful for this group because even though I'm not a PA, they think of me as one. We headed back to Sycamore and chilled for the rest of the night, with two of the students completing the Ice Bucket Challenge.
On Saturday I spent the morning at Sycamore watching as the students left one by one. It was sad to see them part ways; they had really bonded over these 6 weeks. Seeing and hearing what an awesome time they had couldn't have made us happier.
Kiran, Joyce, Laura, Jenna, Parisa, Parisorn, Shefali, Sankirth, Thuyen, Adrienne, baby Jess, Jess S, Emma, Morty, Garrett, Isha and Sam; I speak for everyone when I say we're going to miss you. You became a central part of our summer and not seeing you around campus will be weird.
I also want to congratulate you on how much you grew in a matter of weeks, and once again on the amazing work you did. Hopefully you'll look back on this experience throughout your life.
Best of luck in the future.