Before I entered the lab for the first time, I expected a more typical experience as a researcher. I go to lab, set up my procedure, and then test to get results. It sounded new and interesting to me so I couldn’t wait, but I afraid that I would not be able to work with the high level researchers in the lab. When I first arrived I could see I wasn’t going to be doing such a thing. My first day in the lab wasn’t expected. Instead of immediately beginning tests, I got to see and involve myself in the entire process building a fully functioning research facility. We put together optical tables, built optics systems, and developed techniques to be used in the lab. Nothing was black and white. Every aspect of the process took thought, innovation, and flexibility because not everything worked how we needed it to from the start. My day was never the same. I didn’t just repeat the same process to try and get slightly different results and complete my personal research. I worked in a team of highly intelligent people who were working together to create a place where their research could be done. We tested different ideas to make our procedures and equipment function as they should and built a foundation that would strongly support the development of optical resonator biosensors. I found myself finding new challenges everyday working with extremely amiable colleagues who were always willing to answer my questions and explain set ups unfamiliar to me. I couldn’t have enjoyed my time there anymore. I learned so much and never felt belittled or ignored. None of my initial fears were of any worry. I was reminded of processes used in a startup while working in the facility. I would love to be part of the same process in the future, and hope to find a chance to work in another optical lab in college.
I would to thank Erol and Jaden for helping me in the lab as well as Dr. Su and Dr. Masud Mansuripur letting me work in the lab and learn about high level optical physics for my Senior Research Project.