Internship Week 1

The Penn State mascot.

The Penn State mascot.

Despite getting food poisoning during orientation, my internship is getting off to a great start. My primary investigator is very energetic, and the graduate student I work with is a great teacher. All summer, the only thing I’ve known is that I would be studying some aspect of diabetes. Now I understand that my lab is looking at the vago-vagus reflex and what may cause it to go awry in people with type II diabetes. In order to study this I’ve already had to make a number of solutions, dissect and dissociate the vagus nerve of a lab rat, and then culture and fix these cells on a cover slip – and it’s only been two days! Pretty soon I’ll be using confocal imaging to analyze glucose transporters in the vagus nerves I’ve harvested. Things are definitely off to a quick start.

As for the living arrangements, I’m staying in a quad on the Penn State campus similar to what you might find at North Village II. My room mates, hailing from Puerto Rico and Westcester New York, are three very awesome girls. My program being so small, it’s been a snap to make friends from the other summer programs here. I thought that coming from so many different places and having so many different focuses we’d never form a bond, but with most of us looking to go to medical school, we found common ground really quickly.

I’m not sure about my colleagues, but I’m here because I never thought I could make it here. I’m here to prove to myself and everyone who ever doubted me that I am a valid and capable scientist. That I belong in this course of study and in this field. The last three years of my life have brought me to this moment – this experience – and I intend to show the world that all 1095 days were not a waste of time. I’ve got a lot invested in these next nine weeks.

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