Written by Adjoa Cofie, undergraduate student at Stockton University and participant in the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program
My time at the Washington University Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program can be summarized as: “Lit!”
Lit in every sense of the word because I truly felt enlightened by the entire experience, from my mentor, the educational seminars, to my colleagues in the program. Going into this program, I did have expectations that it was indeed going to be rewarding, however, I did not imagine it would challenge my perspectives on my educational journey, on how significant public health is, and how to properly advocate for a change in health policy.
My research in the laboratory with my mentor, Dr. Haina Shin, was a very inspiring experience. Regardless of my great interest in bench work, I have never been the most confident person in the lab: always afraid of missing a step, or not getting expected results. I associated those things automatically with failure, but the time spent here taught me otherwise. I cam to understand that science is science and mistakes or unexpected results are also crucial parts to making progress. The program motivated me to think about taking different approaches to tackle a research question. I admired my mentor’s patience, resilience, and determination throughout the research projects. Through her guidance, I was able to take initiative with the experiments, improving my skills, learning more about the study and its significance, and becoming a more confident scientist.
The networking this summer has provided me with connections with important professionals, and experts making astounding contributions in the field. I was truly inspired by the diverse ways to make progress in public health.
I explored the beautiful City of St. Louis with the amazing friends I met through the program. The memories I made with them are ones that I will cherish forever.
My time with the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program and in St. Louis has taught me many life lessons for which I will always be grateful. This program has given me incredible tools and knowledge that motivate me further to pursue a career in medicine and public health.