This summer, I had the opportunity to work on something that is personal to me and I believe can leave a genuine impact on those I presented it to. I created a presentation and held a talk on the significance of research in a variety of domains. Whenever the topic of research is brought up, this is likely what most people envision: scientists with white lab coats, microscopes and test tubes all over, & probably a dry-erase board with lots of data cluttered all over. This is a very stereotypical view of research, which has likely been more ingrained in most minds during COVID because so much of what we have heard about was the STEM-focused efforts to create a vaccine. However, the goal of this talk was to show that research is far greater than that and it is integral to a variety of domains: STEM fields and non-STEM fields. I also explained the importance of developing hard skills as research is conducted as well as the significance of networking.
The most impactful aspect of this talk was who it was directed towards. I worked with Jared Smith, director of BLAST. BLAST is a program at Tufts assisting low-income, minority students through means such as developing a cohort one can rely on, arriving on campus early to increase familiarity, etc. By working with Jared, I was able to target current freshmen and sophomore BLASTies. Being a member of BLAST, it was important for me to target this audience and to reassure them that research is feasible in all domains.
I was able to see immediate impacts my talk had once I had finished presenting. I watched as a couple of students approached Dr. Shin and Dr. Sommers, current Psy - 01 professors, and introduce themselves, hitting on the networking aspect I had emphasized simply a few minutes earlier. Seeing the impact was definitively the most rewarding aspect of this project. I look forward to seeing any further impact(s) this talk will have as time passes.