We're a little crazy, about science!

Day 337: The end of summer mentoring


Still trying to get used to the idea of virtual conferences.

Well we still have a month of summer break left, but we do have the end of summer courses coming. In just a week we’re having our undergrad researcher conference (virtually of course). Everyone will get a 5 minute block to showcase their poster, talk about their experience, and get a chance to answer questions about the projects they worked on (another 5 minutes max). The whole thing will take three days to get though.

It’s a process we’ve used with other presentations so it works (for the most part). It isn’t the same as giving poster presentations in person, but it works given that we’re living in a pandemic right now. Technology is great, except when it’s not.

Overall I’m excited to see what the other undergrad students were doing. We work closely with the undergrads and high school students that were assigned to our projects. I had the chance to work with a few outside of my project for a weekly solid modeling course I was teaching, but other than that I don’t know what everyone else was working on.

To give you an idea of the scope, we had a total of 50-60 undergrad and high school students who signed up to be part of our program and I got the chance to work with 6 directly. Two of them I’ve been mentoring long-term, two are high school students, and two are from other programs.

I’m sad it’s ending, you get to watch these students learn new things and grow in just a few months. It’s good though, it means they get to go out and do things on their own and with a little luck, they will end up in the field because you helped show them that it was worth going into it.

The other plus is that I will be able to focus more on my research, which has been set way back thanks to the pandemic. I’ve got some equipment coming today that will help me do that, but I need to put it together since it’s one of my custom designs for the experiment.

The take home message today is simple, when one chapter ends, a new one starts. It’s a little scary because you get used to things and suddenly you’re dealing with new and unknown quantities, but there is also hope there. Hope that you can make a difference and hope that the people you’ve worked with will do great things.


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