By Hunter Risher
So everyone has their own method for choosing what university they want to attend. Some people go based off prestige, some off of proximity to home, some probably don’t care too much so long as they can get out of their house. My technique? I literally Googled “universities with best undergraduate research opportunities” and stumbled upon my new found goal, Hopkins. So happens I got in. Meaningful research is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but I never quite understood how you go about getting a position doing it. Well, attending the presentation on Phage Hunting at SOHOP was like finding my golden opportunity. I enrolled in the class.
The first day was a pleasant surprise. Expecting the typical formalities associated with a first day, things like introductions, expectations, procedures and what have you, we jumped immediately into the direct plating. I admittedly felt like a fish out of water, overwhelmed by the lack of specific instruction and being left to my own devices with nothing but a lab manual in hand. I felt like a scientist though, complete with lab coat and official bound notebook, not the cheap kind we use in chem lab.
It’s my favorite part of the week. Two hours of banter and interaction with people who are engaging, share a common interest in honing their lab technique and biological research skills. None of us quite understood what we were doing the first few classes but quickly became familiar with the equipment and developed the surprisingly large amounts of dexterity required. The class has solidified my interests in biological research despite the occasional frustrations of checking plates only to find lumpy top agar and a bit of contamination. Research is what I came here for and Phage Hunting is a great kick start to what will hopefully be a 4 year career in it.