During the summer of 2013, Pamela had the opportunity to conduct research at the Center for Memory and Brain. Having enjoyed her experience, Pamela returned for summer 2014. This experience confirmed her interest in neuroscience as well as her plans to pursue an MD/PhD.
CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?
Pamela: As a research assistant in the Eichenbaum lab, I was able to work in animal training, microdrive building, surgery, and histology.
CCD: How did you find your internship?
Pamela: My laboratory teaching fellow for the Principles of Neuroscience (NE 203) course approached me at the end of the semester to ask if I would like to check out the Eichenbaum lab, where he was carrying out research for his PhD. I visited the lab, learned more about the project I would be involved in, and started working in the summer of 2013. I continued working at the lab during the year. When my supervisor graduated, I transitioned to a different project within the same lab, which I continued working on through the summer of 2014.
CCD: How has this experience changed your future plans?
Pamela: Having the opportunity to conduct research in a lab has bolstered my confidence and has solidified my desire to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience.
CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of a summer experience?
Pamela: Whenever you start a new position, especially at a lab, there is a period of acclimation in which you won’t get to do many exciting things. Instead, you will start small and then gradually progress to more complicated work. The key to loving your summer experience is to do everything with enthusiasm. Even if given a seemingly tedious task, ask yourself: how does this fit with the goals and questions this lab seeks to answer? What skill is this task teaching me? How can I apply my coursework to what I’m learning in lab? And most importantly, whenever you get the chance, be willing to engage with the graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians, lab managers, and fellow undergraduates in the lab. Everyone has a different level of experience and a different trajectory that you can learn from.
CCD: What’s next for you?
Pamela: I am currently writing my senior thesis. The topic is the role that hippocampal interneurons may (or may not) have in memory and learning.