The Voelcker Program

What is an experience that has impacted your life?

“I believe the process of going from confusion to understanding is a precious, even emotional, experience that can be the foundation of self-confidence.” Brian Greene, as quoted in This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

As the protein bands darkened, distinct and in the arrangement I had predicted, I prepared the National Institute of Health-mandated lab notebook, eager to show my results to Dr. Dong. I handed the notebook page to her, grinning as she carefully inspected my procedure. By the time she handed it back to me, she had already concluded her succinct congratulations and begun instructing me on the way she wanted me to transform the qualitative data so it could be quantitatively analyzed. My triumph concluded, I walked slowly back to the lab, ready to learn a new procedure.

Working as an actual member of a research lab certainly humbled me and provided an opportunity for me to connect with PhD students on a personal level. I matured as a result of the expectations of the Voelcker Academy and the accountability to those in my lab. I found that the privileges and community associated with the lab made the long days worth it. The numerous scientific articles I was required by Dr. Dong to...

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