My name is John Blair, I am a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School…
Holy moly world! This semester has been a whirlwind of activity and emotions, both professionally and personally. I’ll try to update in chronological order:
May: Presented a poster at the Markey Cancer Research Day.
June: Attended the Midwest Zebrafish meeting with Jessi and Shea. I was also invited to present a talk at this meeting, which was my first official academic talk. It was terrifying. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I got really drunk one night during a social/ networking hour (open bar people!!) and was hung over the next day. Note to EVERYBODY: Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT drink after college the same way that you drank during college.
July: Attended the annual CRISPR/Cas Revolution conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in New York. Oh my goodness! This experience was so intense and I will write an entire blog post about this! The highlights- met Jennifer Doudna, learned SO MUCH about techniques and theory of CRISPR, learned the latest ground-breaking research in the CRISPR field, met wonderful people and made some friends along the way. I am so grateful for this experience and I felt attending this conference solo really helped me grow as an independent scientist and network with people. Shout out to Jessi for sending me this year!
August: Science happened, but more important… I got ENGAGED!! WHAT?! How did that happen? My boyfriend (now fiancée) proposed to me during the solar eclipse while on a
trip to Tennessee!
August/ September/ October: Working on qualifying exam basically the whole time. This exam is a 3 part exam for becoming an official Ph.D. candidate in the Biochemistry department at the University of Kentucky. I will write a whole blog post about this too. Short story- it was horrible and soul consuming, but I passed! Yay?
October: I presented at lab meeting this month, at zebrafish meeting this month, and also a community run Suds and Science night at West Sixth Brewing. This was a presentation about CRISPR/Cas in general and was directed toward community members and nonscience members. I had a lot of fun putting this presentation together and interacting with people and answering questions about genome editing, and the future of medicine and personalized medicine with CRISPR.
November: Still writing this review… 5 months later… Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, we have been having challenges in our fish room, which has really put several of us behind on our fish experiments. This is one of the pitfalls of working in an animal model instead of only in vitro. Fun stuff: We had a Thanksgiving Departmental lunch!
December: Coasting through the end of the semester. Making last edits to this review. We had an awesomely fun lab Christmas party and played Dirty Santa, and had a catered lunch, and drank alcohol during working hours. I think everybody had a great time!