My Summer of Exploration & Realization

July 29, 2019

Celebrating a birthday with friends and cohort members

by Caitlyn Johnson, BA, Washington University in St. Louis

2019 Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program participant – Public & Global Health Track

Before showing up to orientation day, I did not realize I would get to spend so much time with the other participants of the program. I had been preparing to immerse myself in the research and create a bond with my mentors, however, this program has been so much more than that.

As a Washington University student, I was comfortable being in St. Louis for the summer because of the familiarity, but I had no idea how much fun it would be to get to explore the city with a new group of people from all over the world. Ever since the first day, I have been able to create strong friendships with the other program participants. During the school year, I don’t feel as pressured to explore the city because I have a total of four years to do so. I feel like our group of participants has come to be a family, and I know that if I ever need one of them, they will be more than happy to give me career advice or just talk on the phone.

As far as the research aspect, I have been able to learn an abundance of information. I absolutely love the research projects I am working on this summer because they are so different.

One allows me to work in a wet lab and compare all the lab data to surveys of real people. Meanwhile, the other has given me perspective of what research outside of a wet lab setting looks like and how it can create change. As a pre-medical student, I have a lot of experience working with cells and doing chemical reactions in a lab, however, it is much more interesting to me when the work that I am doing relates to real lives and can make a tangible impact. Through the program seminars and my research projects, I have realized how vast the public health field is. It is exciting to know that there is a plethora of opportunities to get actively involved in the issues I am passionate about. I am excited to come to more concrete conclusions with my

This post is part of the Summer Research Program blog series at the Institute for Public Health. Subscribe to email updates or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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