Friday, September 7, 2012

Learning from a Great Mentor

(Shannon was one of two students who worked on the Investigation of Natural Product Biosynthesis project with faculty mentor Dr. Laura Grochowski during the inaugural Freshman Scholars Program in summer 2012.)  

by Shannon B., Freshman Scholar and Guest Blogger

Being a part of the Freshman Scholars Program was a great experience. Having the opportunity to meet a majority of the professors before classes started, staying in the dorms, and meeting people from the incoming freshman class were all beneficial because I had a better idea of what to look forward to when the fall semester began. I also already have a group of people that I know will always be there for me.

During the two-week program, there wasn’t anything I didn’t enjoy doing, but the best part of my day was working in the lab with Rachel and Dr. Grochowski. When I first arrived at Ferrum, I had no idea what we were really going to be doing; after listening to Dr. Grochowski give us an overview on all the material we were going to be looking over, I never thought I’d be able to truly understand what we were researching. Although I asked endless questions and made mistakes along the way, Dr. Grochowski continued to explain everything thoroughly so I understood it and assured me that I would catch on to things quickly.

Throughout our first week in the lab, we learned a variety of ways to use the different instruments to either measure out compounds or to create methods on the computer that would run our samples. After the first week of the program, I was more confident in knowing the information we were researching, and I was able to work the various instruments we were using, like the Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC), High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Mass Spectrometer, and more.

During our second week, Dr. Grochowski trusted Rachel and me to work together without having to constantly remind us what to do next when using all the different instruments to make the samples and programs we needed for our experiments. We even started to come up with new experiments and ideas to expand our research on our own.

Dr. Grochowski was an amazing mentor to have during this project because of her positive attitude and outlook on our research and for never giving up on us when we were lost or confused during any part of our studies. This fall, Rachel and I plan on working with Dr. Grochowski and some of the other mentors in the Freshman Scholars Program to continue and expand our research around Ferrum.


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