By Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer
When the term research comes to mind, some might imagine a mad scientist that’s antisocial and works all hours of the night. A student-run organization is working on not only debunking such stereotypes, but providing opportunities for research-minded students to build a network while in their undergraduate years.
Baylor University Research in Science and Technology, BURST, is hosting their second annual two-day research internship event. Starting Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Baylor Sciences Building, BSB, second floor A-wing, students will present their research via poster presentation.
The main event will be on Friday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. in the same area as the poster presentations. From start to finish this event will have an overall introduction with two breakout session time periods covering a specific topics along with a presentation from keynote speaker, Dr. Ambro Van Hoof of McGovern Medical School in Houston. His presentation is on, RNA Exosome: An Elaborate Machine For a Simple Rnase Reaction. Additionally, at the end of the event, there will be an opportunity for students to interact with recruiters from various research based companies.
Frisco senior and president of BURST, Courtney Smith, has been in charge of overseeing the event and wants students who plan to attend to know that they shouldn’t be nervous.
“Keep in mind that all these representatives who are coming are just so stoked to meet the students,” Smith said. “That’s their job to come out, meet students and get them excited about these programs. So come in and know that they’re excited to meet you, they’re looking forward to getting to know about you and tell you about their program.”
Tyler senior and vice president of events BURST, Christine Capili, encourages students to find research that they’ll be passionate about since they’ll spend so much time on it.
“Find research that you’re going to be very passionate about doing,” Capili said. “You’re going to be working and doing the research for a very long time and if you’re doing something you’re passionate about, you’ll enjoy doing the work each day and because of that you’re going to do your best.”
Portland, Ore. sophomore and special events chair, Will Chan, has been the primary liaison for such events and with his young age, he’s reaching out to his peers to start research early on.
“One of the things I wanted to do when I got this position was to get freshmen and sophomores, especially, underclassmen involved in research because I too frequently see seniors who go into a lab and are there for six months and don’t get the full research experience, so one of the things is getting younger people and building those relationships with professors,” Chan said.
For those who are starting to look for research opportunities, but don’t know where to start Smith urges them to not be afraid to go outside your field.
“One of the biggest takeaways is you don’t realize how much is out there until you start to look. It’s not as much so hard to find, it’s hard to narrow down,” Smith said. “When you search for internships and you search for research opportunities it’s often more of a problem of you’ll get a thousand results for what you searched and how do you decide which program is the one for you.”
With the event being in its second year, BURST’s executive board noted that outreach is crucial and their results reflected that with a 90 to nearly 120 student registration jump. BURST is also still accepting new members.
Providing Baylor’s undergraduate students with researching opportunities is the core of what BURST does and Smith said she knows that a collective effort amongst students will lead to more solutions.
“Our founding mission has been to give undergraduates as much access to research and to as many tools to help them do research as we possibly can,” Smith said. “A lot of what BURST does is to build community and build networks with each other and professors. So many problems we’re facing today and questions we’re trying to solve are interdisciplinary, they’re not going to be solved by the biologist or the chemist, they’re going to be solved by working with the physicist or those in the humanities.
Chan has experience with the inner workings of research lab and knows the importance of its communication.
“Research is a highly social endeavor since modern problems are increasingly more and more complex,” Chan said. “Once you get into a lab, you need to make sure that you work well with the people. Sometimes the people you mesh well with sometimes they’re people you don’t tune in with each other like on a basic personality level and that’s really important because a lot of the research techniques and theory you’ll learn in the lab. It’s a very social event.”
For those interested in BURST, but can’t make it to research internship day, starting next Tuesday Nov. 14, there will be a URSA scholars week workshop with Jasmine Stovall in D114 of the BSB, followed by a Career and Professional Development workshop with Nick Haynes on Wednesday Nov. 15 in D105 of the BSB, there will be a another installment of the Real Life Lecture Series: Statistics with Dr. Kahle in B114 of the BSB.