August 19th, 2020


My Journey Into Science

Jakub Legocki
Editor Eliza Neidhart


“Hey!  What are you doing in there?!?!”

        my mom yelled, muffled outside the bathroom door

“One second Mom, I’ll be right out!”

         I belted in my six-year-old soprano

I was racing to mix every possible soap, cleaner, cream, perfume, you name it, into a plastic cup. Why, you might ask? Well, I had to see whether I’d be able to get some bubbles, smoke, or even an explosion! Of course, nothing happened with the exception of a bubble or two, but my experimenting wasn’t done there. I placed the cup into the freezer to see whether freezing would have any effect. Again, nothing particularly exciting occured. As one last roll of the dice, I left the cup out in my sunny backyard. Maybe now something would happen! Again, nothing. Though these “failures” might set back many young scientists, not me!

My test-everything phase would continue; eventually, my parents became sufficiently frustrated to encounter emptied cleaning bottles that they got me a science kit from Toys R’ Us to use instead. Unfortunately, I don’t have too many memories with that kit, though I know I did end up using it. Meanwhile, my hunger for experimentation and discovery continued unabated. I explored perfume-making kits, gemstone and fossil discovery kits, pretty much anything I could get my hands on. My long-term dream was to have my own lab coat, and having my very own lab would be pretty cool too.

Science kit

One of my first science kits

While my own lab will still have to wait, I eventually got that lab coat in my high school AP Chemistry class. In high school, I took any science class available to me and focused on doing as well as possible. Anything less than an A was a failure in my eyes, even though my parents were always proud of me for trying my best. I knew that if I wanted to have a career as a scientist, I would need to push myself. Luckily it wasn’t too difficult to find motivation. Learning more about the world was exciting!


Though my goals have changed over time, I still find myself wanting to do scientific work in any capacity. My current goals are to get a bachelor’s degree (or further) in chemical and biomolecular engineering. Ideally, I’d like to specialize in protein engineering. While I’m not taking part in hands-on experiments right now, I’m working towards my goals by doing computational protein design as a part of the Montclare Lab. It has been amazing! While my journey is nowhere near finished, I never could have imagined that I’d be so well poised to achieve my goals. From mixing soaps and perfumes to working on proteins which can be used to help others, I’ve made big steps towards reaching my childhood dream. However, I’m not going to stop here. Who knows, maybe that six-year-old experimenting with everything will end up with his very own lab after all!