Successful students at Johns Hopkins make the biggest impact by collaborating with others, including peers, mentors, and professors. Talk about a time, in or outside the classroom, when you worked with others and what you learned from the experience. (300-400)

The sunlight mutedly shone through the grimy windows, peering through the blinds. We maintained steady eye contact between the covered Erlenmeyer flasks, mouthing our countdown: “three … two … one!" As if perfectly rehearsed, the purple microcentrifuge tubes leaped a foot into the air, belching out thunderous pops. We weren’t even close to finished with our dry ice shenanigans that day.

I spent my last summer in Boston, working with high school, undergraduate, and graduate students at a Northeastern lab. When we weren’t fashioning comical explosive devices from leftover dry ice, we were passionately collaborating on our research, examining the relationship between mutation loads in mitochondrial DNA and aging. Through the course of the summer, I realized the unique collaborative effort of lab work: everyone moiled away at independent projects, which accumulated in some pinnacle goal.

Analyzing genetic information in the lab took several coordinated steps. This meant everyone’s work was dependent on the accuracy of the previous step, and progress had to be communicated. A fresh box of ice was needed everyday, tissue samples had to be acquired, the amplification of genetic material had to be prepared properly, a fresh agarose gel...

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