The biggest reason I was there was to take part in the undergraduate poster competition. Of the 20-30k attendees, only around 250 were undergraduates, according to the undergrad orientation I went to. The poster competition was very similar to the one at Northeastern, just on a much larger scale. I didn’t win any prizes or honorable mentions, but I felt good about the presentations I gave to my judges. The experience of presenting among peers that have in-depth science backgrounds was very illuminating.
I also attended scientific lectures, and although some of the concepts were hard to understand, I came away with a lot of ideas for my own experiments to run this summer, which I’m very excited about. Particularly, I continue to be alarmed by the number of studies which only use male cells, male mice, and male humans to draw broad conclusions about the human condition.
At Wentworth I feel much more of a scientist compared to a lot of my classmates, since the school is mainly engineering. But at this conference I was reminded that although I’ve been conducting independent research and will graduate with a minor in biology, ultimately I am an engineer who happens to have a little more experience and interest in science than most of those I’ve met. This is humbling, but not a bad thing, I think. Since I’ve been home I’ve been reflecting on what my strengths are, what it is about research that I like, and how I can fit into the bigger picture of scientific research, biomedical engineering and healthcare in general.
I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll be doing this time next year, but I think this conference has helped put my experience in perspective, and I’m very glad I was able to attend.