Although my research was halted due to the pandemic, from my completed work I have preliminary data indicating that diet impacts overall microglia morphology during early development, a topic that has yet to be discussed in published research. I already presented this research at a conference in February and will present these findings once more for my honors thesis and UGR presentations.
During my time conducting research, I found that I most enjoyed the ability to learn firsthand about neuroscience as a scientific field rather than a just subject, as I felt that I was able to be an active participant in the application of my learning. Additionally, I also enjoyed learning about the scientific method in a more personal rather than theoretical way, as researching revealed alot to me about how science is conducted as well as the immense amount of work it takes to conduct and publish a scientific study. Most of all however, I enjoyed the possibility of discovering novel findings that could not only add to my prior knowledge and understanding, but also the knowledge and understanding of others both in and outside of the neuroscience field. It was this possibility of discovery and the improvement it could make to people’s lives, that enabled me to push through any obstacles I faced in designing and conducting my experiments, and what drew me to research in general.
I am very fortunate to have Dr. Sally Marik as my faculty mentor, as she taught me so much about the scientific process as well, from writing grants, to designing experiments and data analysis. I appreciate that she allowed me to design my own project, take initiative in conducting my experiments, and work independently while she provided guidance. I also deeply appreciate her support in encouraging me to present my research and her guidance on how scientific conferences function. I think my experience working with Dr. Marik has one that has definitely confirmed my interest in the scientific field, as doing research with her really exposed me to how science is conducted in the real world. Overall, I am very grateful for the learning experience I got from participating in the UGR program and will definitely use this learning experience in the future endeavors.