By: C’Aira Dillard
Being a part of the PAECER-SURE summer program has allowed me to see all of what science has to offer. Before this summer program I had not been exposed to much science research or mastered any techniques. The most science exposure I had was through my freshman chemistry and biology labs. Once starting this program, I learned that science in general is so much more than the stereotypical way it is portrayed. Everyone who pursues a career in science do not all come from the same background nor have the same viewpoints. In the Planning Your Scientific Journey course, the first video explained that you should embrace your individuality. In the video, Dr. Keith Yamamoto expressed that if everyone comes from a common background and begins to channel their questions and answers through this common path everyone will agree, which will lead to a similar conclusion. In other words, “it must be right because everyone agrees.” Dr. Yamamoto suggests that if this is the mindset than you are lost. Having different viewpoints and backgrounds bring different perspectives to the research project. For example, in my research group, Pregnancy and Cardiovascular Disease, I am the youngest out of everyone. Being the youngest I tend to ask the basic or simple questions that most upperclassmen may look over. Bringing this perspective to the team, it allows us not to look over the simple things when conducting our research.
Now, we move on to science questions that most speak to me. I am interested in science questions that make me wonder why a particular thing is a certain way. For instance, why do African Americans tend to have a curl pattern type of hair and Caucasians tend to have straight hair? When African American babies are born, they tend to have a head full of hair compared to Caucasians, but as they grow older the tables are turned. Why is that? I find these questions interesting because of the why behind it. Also, I enjoy the chase of doing the research to answer a question that most individuals do not have the answer to. Not only am I interested in the differences of ethnic groups, but also anything that deals with pregnancy, mother, or baby. My media group are looking at the effects of hypertension during pregnancy. I never knew there were so many different factors that could lead to hypertension during pregnancy as well as preventative measures that could combat the onset of hypertension during pregnancy.
Lastly, research techniques I have already mastered include constructing a learning objective and identifying a target audience, creating a survey with valuable questions that adheres to the targeted statistical data, and working as a team player to successfully complete a research project. Some techniques I still want to learn are effectively analyzing statistical data, writing grants to be funded for a research project, and becoming more comfortable in the lab.