Thank you Dr. Arnold O. Beckman, for putting your faith in the young

May 9th, 2011. 3:02:27 PM

Disbelief: My state of mind as I clicked on the awaited email titled Beckman Scholars Program Award.

Same day. 3:02:28 PM

One yelp-jump-in-the-air-call-your-mother-butterflies-fluttering-under-your-skin kind of Joy.

It amazes me that one single opportunity in college can lead to another and another and before you realize where you have been your career is underway. Through the SIMS program as a pre-freshman I was introduced to research and met the educators at CNSI. Through the mentorship of these individuals at CNSI, the EUREKA! Internship became a reality. And finally, after two years of dedicated research and diligent study, these sought-after experiences defined me as a qualified applicant for a nationwide scholarship program.

I am so grateful for the privilege of attending an educational institution at which success is within my reach, but I am even more appreciative that UCSB does not do the reaching for me. What I value most about UCSB is that it is the kind of school where you must first earn the opportunities that you are given. There aren’t any handouts around here. I think I like that the most. – Aside from the ocean of course.

This past summer the Beckman Scholarship enabled me to stay at UCSB to work full time in the research lab. I was putting in forty-plus hours a week and began to really get a feeling for the life of a scientist. It was a such a unique opportunity as an undergrad to focus solely on research without the stress of classes.

So far the most rewarding advantage of the Beckman Scholarship has been the opportunity to travel to different research conferences. The foundation provided the funding to attend the 2011 Beckman Scholars and Beckman Young Investigators Symposium at UC Irvine in August and I will have the chance to present my own research at the symposium next year. This past fall was a busy quarter of poster editing and printing for the SACNAS Conference in October, CNSI’s 10 year review at UCLA, and the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The first three conference experiences were intimate affairs at which students were given ample time and opportunity to meet one another, talk with more experienced scientists, network with admissions directors at other universities, and become introduced to a handful of recent research endeavors. However, at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in D.C., the sheer hugeness of the event – 32,357 in attendance at a giant convention center at the heart of the nation’s capital – completely redefined a scientific conference for me. I was astonished by the breadth of topics covered by mini-symposiums, special lectures, and a open hall (equivalent to at least six UCSB Thunderdomes) absolutely full of posters. There were so many different talks going on simultaneously that it was difficult to chose which ones to attend! However, I found that my favorite approach was to go through the schedule and pick the talks that sounded the most interesting – regardless of their relevance to my project – and see what there was to learn.

I have to say that last quarter was absolutely the busiest I have ever been. Preparing for a presentation at a conference first of all takes a lot of thought and time, and then attending the conferences usually meant missing classes. Missing lectures and a few midterms made getting those top grades even more difficult, but I think that in the long run, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present your research to well-known scientists in your field far is more than worth the price of a few sleepless nights of catching up.

Posted in Beckman Scholars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Student Contributors
Alex Iteen is a second year student majoring in Biology. He is interested in bioengineering and synthetic biology. He is currently working in Dr. Fygenson's lab on DNA nanotubes.
See all his posts

David Wallace is a third year student majoring in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology. He is currently working in Professor Weimbs's lab studying the pathogenic mechanisms of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD).
See all his posts

Eneida Chesnut is a senior majoring in chemical engineering. She transferred from SBCC, where she studied chemistry. She works with organic materials for solar cells and is very interested in renewable energy research.
See all her posts

Erzsebet is a second year chemical engineering major. She is interested in biotechnology and biophysics, and is working in Professor David Awschalom's lab investigating how cephalopod skin responds to different types of stimulation by light.
See all her posts

Madison Cornwell is a second year student majoring in Biochemistry and Spanish. She is a EUREKA intern through the California NanoSystems Institute and the Resident Assistant of the Women in Science and Technology House in Manzanita Village. She will be working closely with Dr. Kosik and graduate student Israel Hernandez for the remainder of her time at UCSB.
See all her posts
Are you interested in contributing to the UCSB Undergraduate Research blog? Email Kelly Pillsbury for more information.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3 other followers

Blog Stats
  • 19,213 visitors