When I got offered this REU, I was beyond excited and obviously extremely intimidated at the thought of working at a research lab when I came from a school with basically no research opportunities. I even bought some outfits to comply with the safety video that we had to watch before we started this journey. After Week 1 at Purdue, I definitely felt a lot better meeting all you wonderful people.
When it finally came time to go to lab for the first time I walked in and was greeted and got my own personal intern desk. I met the people in my lab and was told a little about the project and was immediately immersed into reading papers and finally working on designing some parts that were needed for the robot. I also felt like I was in this stereotypical position where I was the only girl in a room of 5 guys. So, basically the whole intimidation thing started again. After some time though, I came to realize just how awesome the grad students in my lab were and how great the other intern working on my project was and also it was nice to see a familiar face in Justin.
After the first couple of weeks Anna came back from her vacation in Germany and I was no longer the only female in the room.. It was quite nice I may add. Everyone in the lab has their own personality and I enjoy every single one of them. With there being two interns on the project, each on of us works closer with one grad student over the other. Bryn, who I would like to call "my grad student mentor," really helped lighten the mood and make me feel like I belonged to the lab. One day I was really struggling with my computer and CAD and of course Bryn states, " If it's any consolation, tomorrow will be worse than today." Surprise Surprise... the next day I got a cold and struggled focusing.. his response, "Didn't I promise it would be worse?" That actually lifted my spirit and I started laughing and by all means it made my day so much better.
Also the other intern, got his position through the VISE (Vanderbilt Initative in Surgery) Program, and since I am also working on the same project, I got invited to go to all of the meeting he goes to. I have gotten the chance to tour other labs where they are using engineering to help make surgery more successful, and I am even giving a small presentation about our internship at the end of the summer to the rest of the VISE interns. Being able to do the stuff with the VISE interns was an added treat that I didn't think I would have.
There seems to be a lot of "lab jokes" that I now feel in the loop about, and it feels amazing. I realized how chill of an environment it is and the combination of work and fun make the day go by super fast. Since all of our projects are in small scale, the dress code thing isn't as intense as in labs with large equipment, so it turned out I really didn't need all those extra clothes. but its nice to have them :D.
Overall I am really glad I get to work with the people I do in Olin 504. I feel like I ended up where I needed to be :).