Finishing Up

At the end of 10 weeks of work, much progress was made. The Project I and my lab mate Jasmine Greene worked on was as complete as we could make it. We set out at the beginning of the summer with a few goals. The first was to locate a pond, and take samples from before, various points during, and after a rain event. Accomplished. The second was to create slides and count the abundance of all the samples from these. Check. Then isolate viruses from the samples. Took a while, and all of our soil filters, but check. Get RNA/DNA from these. Check. Obtain quality checks on each of these. Check. Send these off to a sequencing facility. Check.

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Being an Undergraduate Researcher

One of the quintessential experiences of college is participating in undergraduate research. I’ve been doing research for the past two years in the same lab, and can say, it has been my favorite experience since coming to William & Mary. Through it, I’ve been able to learn about what interests me most, Biology, in a way that my coursework never could. That being said, there are a few things that are unique about it being an undergraduate experience, instead of a graduate research program, or a program at a much larger institution which I have enjoyed this summer.

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Down Time/Limited Resources

Although there was much excitement about the project I was doing during the summer, I quickly hit a wall. That wall was that the lab needed more tubes to handle all the projects at the same time. All the samples from the field were being collected in a timely fashion, counts of virus concentration were made, and DNA was filtered and frozen. After these steps, there was another set of steps which involved purifying DNA from a virus sample before sending it off for sequencing. Unfortunately, the lab was running at least three projects simultaneously, forcing us to order more tubes. They took about a week to arrive.

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