As a biology major, the study fields range from microorganisms to birds and insects. The options are numerous and the researchers at UConn are constantly pushing the limits. To make it easier to see the different labs on campus, there are Honors discussions attached to many courses that delve into the research opportunities. My first and second semesters, I took the Honors discussion for Introduction to Biology I and II. Each week a grad student or professor from different labs presented their work and gave Undergraduates a chance to ask questions and learn how to get involved.
By sophomore year, I found a few labs doing interesting research and explored how to become involved. My 3rd semester was spent meeting with professors and discovering the vast amount of knowledge that UConn professors have uncovered. I secured work in a lab with the Connecticut State Ornithologist, Dr. Rubega. I did a survey of an endangered bird species to uncover the reason for their decline. After a semester, I decided to part ways with my first research professor and try to find a lab that focused more on a physiological model.
After speaking to my Honors Psychology adviser, Dr. Miller recommended one of his cohorts, Dr. Etan Markus, for my next lab adventure. I met with Dr. Markus shortly after and it was a match made in academia; a lab that combined behavioral components with the physiological. I found myself within a behavioral neuroscience lab that had a specialty of electrophysiology. I began working there my junior year and have continued to work closely with Dr. Markus and his graduate students.
Now after creating a good foundation within my lab, its now time to work on my thesis project. This upcoming semester I will be working on a new project within the lab collecting data and analyzing it for my paper. It will be a challenge – one that will both test my knowledge and hopefully discover something new. At the end of this semester, the data should be complete and the thesis will begin. It will be written similar to a scientific article including a full background, abstract, methods and discussion sections and will be around 30+pages.
In about three months or so, I will be back to let you know how its going but for now, let the data collection begin!