This summer we’re sponsoring high school interns in stem cell labs throughout California. We asked those students to contribute to our Instagram photos and YouTube videos about life in the lab, and write about their experiences.
Charmaine Chan worked in the lab of Dr. Robert Ryan, Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute (CHORI)
I enjoyed a lot of aspects of my internship but most of all I enjoyed obtaining lab experience. I’ve always imagined working in a lab but now I get to actually experience it for myself.
It’s been super exciting for me and even now, halfway through my internship, I am still in awe that I am passaging (splitting) cells or making buffer solutions. It was difficult to adapt to certain protocols but with help and guidance from my patient mentors I am now able to get a grasp on how things work in a lab.
The most challenging aspect was being very careful to each and every detail. For example, when doing a Western blot, even loading a little more or less of a sample into the gel can skew the results greatly. This is where basic lab skills such as pipetting are required, and I feel that CHORI has given me a very warm and comfortable environment for learning such skills.
I think I would like to pursue a career in research because it is not only fascinating but also inspiring as I’ve realized along the way just how important research is in our society. Without research, we would not have certain vaccines and knowledge about diseases.
My family thinks that this opportunity has helped me grow a lot not only as a scientist, but also as a person. My family and I are very thankful that such a program exists – it’s very rare that a high school student can be given a chance to work hands-on with professional researchers in a lab, receive great mentorship, and listen to weekly seminars.
I believe that programs such as CHORI are extremely valuable to our society by guiding students in the science field and allowing them to realize their full potentials.
Charmaine sent us these videos about her experience: