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First-day nerves give way to excitement

June 21, 2011

Week 1 June 6 – June 10, 2011

The first day of my internship was really exciting. However, I was nervous because I felt that I was not yet experienced enough for this opportunity. The project involves working with plants, which I’m familiar with, but this time it includes using intense machines for plant imaging in radioactivity. I thought I would be slow to keep up with the instructions for the procedure and the experiment. Then I told myself, “Why am I worrying so much? I love doing researching on plants and this is what I wanted to do for a long time. I can do this. I am the type of person who loves to learn new ideas.”

The first day was on orientation and meeting our mentors. The orientation was pretty long because we have to follow the safety instructions and details on the Brookhaven National Laboratory site. Other than orientation, I met with Dr. Ferrieri at lunch; this was my first time meeting with him since I had met him at ESF during the spring semester. At lunch we discussed the study I will be working on with his daughter, Abbie Ferrieri, a graduate student at the University of Missouri. I also met Dr. Benjamin Babst along with his student intern, Doug Kenny. Dr. Babst works along with Dr. Ferrieri. Then we all explored the medical building and Dr. Ferrieri showed me where I will be working. He also showed me the hot lab where I will be working with radioactivity. Last, he showed me the office that I can use where I have my own desk. This is where I get to be with my new friends: Doug, Abbie, and another student named Guy Jackson. Overall, the first day of my internship was great since I got to meet new friends during orientation and see the building where I am going to work.

The rest of the week was spent taking radioactivity-training courses. Doug and I had to take two training courses, one Monday afternoon and one Thursday morning. Each course is about four hours long including taking a multiple choice test. We must pass the test or we cannot continue working in the radioactivity lab. For the rest of this week, Dr. Ferrieri, Abbie and I gathered together to discuss the project and data reduction analysis. I understand the whole project, however, I was nervous about following the procedure for this study. I was kind of confused when we were discussing the different procedures for this particular study, like doing sugar assays, plant extraction, plant imaging, TLC plates, etc. Then later on I felt calm when Dr. Ferrieri told me not to worry if I am confused and nervous at that point since this will be my first time doing these procedures. Also he told me that he will take it slow and demonstrate the procedure for me first.  I also learned new techniques for how to plant corn and sorghum. I got to read Dr. Ferrieri’s published articles that relate to my study. Finally, the whole day Friday, we attended a positron emission tomography (PET) group workshop. In this workshop, the people who are part of the PET group lectured us on their studies so we can be more aware of what they do in the lab.

I work at BNL from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  weekdays and I am taking a summer class, Western Civilization, from 6 to 9 p.m. It is a lot of work and I am still adjusting but I can do it. My nervousness is gone from the first day which I am glad about. Moreover, I am excited to do this internship.

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2 Comments
  1. Xiaoliang permalink

    Hey, Beverly, Good luck with you internship! I am proud of you!

    Xiaoliang

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