May 27th, 2022

Maggie Thompson

My path to being interested in science did not start as young as some. I spent many years dreaming of becoming a writer or an investigative reporter, who would travel the world to write news stories. Yet, during my sophomore year of high school, after I took a few more science courses, I realized that science, not writing, might be the right path for me. Wanting to further explore my newfound interest in science, I applied to a summer research program through Brown University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focusing on infectious and zoonotic diseases. I was accepted into the program and flew to Atlanta, GA to start my journey within science. During the week-long program, I found that I was more excited to attend lectures and labs than I had ever been about any academic subject—I had found a passion for science!

            Following that experience, I took all the courses I could that were in the science field. I imagined myself working in a lab, discovering new treatments for diseases to make the world a healthier place. After graduating high school during a pandemic, I entered college, also in the middle of a pandemic and was met with new experiences left and right. As a Biomolecular Science major, I was taking courses that allowed me to dive even deeper into the world of drug development, the impact of vaccines, and the world of biomolecular engineering. After a full year of Biomolecular Science courses, I found that not only did I still love the field I planned on going into, but my interest and passion for it had grown even stronger.

            During my freshman year, many—if not all—in person activities and even classes had been suspended, so I was unable to gain as much experience outside of classes as I wanted. So, when COVID restrictions began to let up during the fall of my sophomore year, I realized that it was time to get involved. I had already started working as a lab teaching assistant for the introductory biomolecular science courses but wanted to get involved with research. Towards the end of my fall semester, I began researching labs on campus and the Montclare lab immediately stood out to me—they were studying exactly what I was interested in—and I wanted to be a part of it. After reaching out to the lab and interviewing, I was ecstatic that they were willing to have me join as a member of their team.

            In the lab I currently shadow Ph.D. candidate, Appy Bhattacharya and am learning the basics of protein engineering. I love working in the lab as every day is something different and I can look forward to learning new skills that will help me during the rest of my academic career and beyond. Everyone in the lab has been so welcoming and although I have only been a part of the team for about three months, I already feel like I have learned so much about not only the research being done but received great advice on how to be successful in the research field. I look forward to continuing to volunteer in the Montclare Lab and learning even more about the world of biomolecular science.