This past spring, I was honored to be chosen as one of the first Beckman scholars at Penn State. This program has allowed me to dive deeper into my undergraduate research project and has had a major influence on my career goals. I have learned skills that will help me to become a successful scientific leader and I have grown in my ability to ask and evaluate novel research questions. The Beckman community has inspired me to push the boundaries of science and innovation, and I am incredibly proud and excited to be a part of it.
My Beckman experience began during the interview process. I improved upon my scientific communication skills through writing a grant proposal and giving an oral presentation on my research. After being chosen as a Beckman scholar, I had the opportunity to meet with my mentors on a biweekly basis. This has helped me to form closer relationships with my mentors, which has made a substantial impact on my future career goals. During these meetings, my research experience became much more well-rounded as we discussed scientific ethics, elevator pitches, mentoring, and personal statements. I learned how to effectively develop testable hypotheses and design well-controlled experiments. My undergraduate research has allowed me to experience what it is like to do research full-time and has inspired me to pursue a career in science.
My most impactful experiences as a Beckman scholar have been the ability to travel to national conferences. This summer, I travelled to San Francisco for ASM Microbe to present a poster on my research project. There, I was exposed to cutting-edge microbiology research from around the world. I was inspired and honored to be able to present my research at a conference of this size, and the experience allowed me to further improve upon my scientific communication skills. In addition, I travelled to Irvine to attend the Beckman symposium at the end of summer. At this symposium, I was exposed to research across many different fields. This was an incredible opportunity because I was able to meet and network with other Beckman scholars, post-doctoral researchers, and faculty members across the United States. This symposium instilled upon me that Beckman is a community of scientists who aspire to be leaders and innovators in their fields.
Overall, my experience as a Beckman scholar has been more beneficial and impactful than I could have ever imagined. It has solidified my goals to attend graduate school and obtain a Ph.D. in microbiology. After this, I plan to work toward my overall goal of leading my own research program and pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge even further.