I continued my research with Dr. Meredith in State College, continuing progress on my project. I also continued volunteering at MSLC with my mentee, Richard, meeting with him weekly, along with volunteering at PAWS weekly.
This experience was important to me as I was able to continue using my scientific and humanities knowledge in two different fields while making a difference in my own life and in the lives of others. With research, I continued to develop myself using my scientific knowledge, challenging me to think about problems from many angles. Similarly, my time working with Richard had me working from multiple angles, figuring out which teaching style suited him and which he enjoyed the most, as I feel that learning should be fun intrinsically. An external motivator, if implemented correctly, can aid in developing that intrinsic push. I was able to improve Richard’s English pronunciation and vocabulary, helping him to reach out farther into the world with his new-found confidence in the English language.
My English minor definitely helped me in aiding Richard at the MSLC. The MSLC even provided many resources as well. My knowledge in the English language, and especially in literature/poetry, allowed me to find modern-day poetry that incorporated specific rhymes, whether internal rhymes or end rhymes. This allowed Richard to practice his flow in the English language, along with pronunciation and coherence. In research, my knowledge of the sciences was not the key aspect. Rather, my knowledge in problem solving, and of the resources available, were tested. Of course I had to know the basics behind methods, but the aspect of problem solving without knowing the end, or the whole process, was an integral part to research that completely caught me off guard. I was able to transplant some of my in-class lab experiences, such as troubleshooting and problem solving, into a real-world lab.
I came to realize that I truly do love working with people, and improving my community. I have always worked with people or animals in my life, and I never realized why. It just felt right, and I now see that most of my activities are in the community, helping others. Research does not fulfill this completely, but it provides the stimulation of my prior knowledge as well, which also comes up in all of my other previous experiences, whether it is with the MSLC or PAWS. This only reinforces my hopes to matriculate into medical school.