January 5, 2016

What was the last major accomplishment you had?

The last major accomplishment I had was when I completed training for my volunteer lab position.

It took me a while to complete my training because I was only able to volunteer for a couple of hours, one day a week. The first thing that I had to do was read our laboratory safety manuals, which easily took about 3 weeks for me to finish. After reading the safety protocols, I was able to begin balance training. Luckily, training to use the balance only took one week.

The last step in the training process had been dubbed “pipette boot camp” by other students volunteering to research in the same lab. When I first started, every time pipette boot camp came up, all of the other students in the lab would talk about how long it took them. The other students made pipette boot camp sound next to impossible, which really motivated me to have as few attempts as possible (I was really wanting to do well in order to impress my research mentor). So, I did my first protein assay and got an R2 coefficient of 0.91 or so, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that most people don’t obtain an R2 that high on their first try. The same day, I did two more protein assays, each with an R2 of 0.99 (which is what my mentor was looking for).

After submitting two R2 values of 0.99 to my mentor, she informed me that you had to get 0.99 three times in a row on two different days. So, I went home, came back to the laboratory one week later, attempted the protein assay one last time and obtained an R2 value of 0.99. This is definitely my last major accomplishment because I was able to complete my laboratory training in order to get involved in more hands on activities, as well as completing pipette boot camp in only four attempts.

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