Frantic Finality: A Senior’s Tale

And then there was stress.

But it was the good kind. For with every assignment that he finished, he knew that there would no longer be another to pop up and replace it. He sifted through two problem sets and a paper with ease. Yet most importantly the binding of his thesis had come and gone amidst the chaos without him even batting an eye at it. Suddenly something that had once seemed to be a massive endeavor had ended, and now the satisfaction that he felt upon turning his 44-page document in had been eclipsed by a short grocery list of final tasks to fill out his undergraduate experience.
I’m going to drop the dramatic narrative shtick, as I think that isolated passage perfectly encapsulates my feelings regarding the end of my thesis-writing, and now it’s time to talk objectively about a few things that the Williams Lab and I have encountered in the past week, and will encounter in the coming weeks.
I’ll start briefly with my progress, because, honestly, I don’t have anything too exciting to talk about, and I want to save the best for last. I was lucky enough to participate in the Mount David Summit last week. Spending an hour and fifteen minutes standing by my poster and defending its honor against passersby was tiring, but also satisfying. I felt as though I could really display how much I had learned throughout my project, and I feel like I may have taught a few people some things about the techniques that I used and the importance of my study. I’m happy to announce that I’ll get the chance to bring my poster up to MDIBL in a couple of weeks to present it again at the MBMSS conference. Beyond this, histology samples have been sent out to get a better look at my subjects’ heart structures, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be starting up with qPCR.
Now, more importantly, the Williams lab was pleased to welcome Archana Dhasarathy to Bates for a day. Dr. Dhasarathy is an Assistant Professor at University of North Dakota with a background in genetics. Quang, Larissa, and I were able to go out to lunch with Dr. Dhasarathy and discuss her background in Science and her experience with moving to the US from India starting in Grad. Dr. Dhasarathy also gave a riveting talk on her research on the role of a transcription factor which impacts splicing to allow for an epithelial to mesenchymal transition, which results in the development of metastatic cancers.
Perhaps of greatest note, Dr. Dhasarathy was visiting to serve on the committee of Alex’ Honors Thesis defense. I’m happy to announce that Alex passed her thesis defense and was awarded honors for her work on the ChIP procedure. While I was unable to attend her defense, she gave a public talk following her official thesis talk, which honestly served as a victory lap for the newly-minted honors student.
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All of us in the lab are incredibly proud of her, and are perhaps even more glad that she’s now embarking on a much needed vacation to Nepal for the next two weeks.
While things are crazy, these are several rays of light that shone through the past two bleak weeks, and it is these big developments that we will really look back at from the future with pride and happiness.