Monday, August 7, 2017

Guest Blog Post: Thoughts on the Research Apprenticeship Seminar from Jenna Bergmann, '18

Whenever prospective students ask me about research opportunities for first-years, I am so excited for a chance to talk about the Research Apprenticeship Seminar (RAS). While it's not unheard of for first-years to begin working in labs, RAS is a great chance to get their feet wet in what it means to do research in college and beyond.
Personally, I had already done research in high school when I applied for RAS and was excited for the chance to talk about careers in research and working in Barnard labs. I was sure that I wanted to do research in college, but as a pre-med student, I didn't know whether I wanted research to be a part of my career beyond that. I loved the class days when we discussed different careers in science, talked about how to read scientific papers, and learning about the different paths you can take to get there, as well as receiving advice on how to reach out to potential research mentors. Shadowing in Barnard labs was perhaps the most influential experience of the course for me, as I ended up doing research in both of the labs that I shadowed in. It was through working with those mentors that I came to my decision to pursue an MD/PhD and continue with research as a part of my career. Other members of my class, however, really enjoyed the class even if they didn't go on to pursue science as a career or even as a major. Interest in scientific research does not have to mean a career in research, and my RAS class was enriched by Barnard first-years who went on to pursue arts and humanities but still benefited from the class. Discussing science in the news and having debates on topics ranging from vaccination to genome editing allows first-years enrolled in intro science classes to put what their learning in a more relatable context and to understand how scientific research plays a role in society. We also did presentations on scientists of our choosing and on science in the news, allowing me to work on my presentation skills in college in a low-pressure environment. The Research Apprenticeship Seminar gave me a network of fellow Barnard students who were interested in learning about science on several different levels. It broadened my interest in the field of research and the role of science in society, it gave me practical skills for research and other classes, and it gave me the confidence I needed to continue my pursuit of research at Barnard and beyond.

-Jenna Bergmann, '18

If you're interested in applying for the Research Apprenticeship Seminar:
1.  Log into myBarnard/gBear
2.  Click this link for the Google Form:
3.  Fill out the form, which will ask you for your name and a brief statement of interest (250 words maximum), explaining why you want to take this class and why you think you would be a good candidate for it. The deadline to submit this form is Friday, August 11, 2017.