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Julia Cooper ’12

Julia Cooper ’12, an honors biology major, worked in Assistant Professor of Biology Nick Kaplinsky’s lab during the summer.


Junior biology majors Julia Cooper and Elan Silverblatt-Buser (center) worked in the lab of Assistant Professor Nick Kaplinsky, mapping genes in a plant they tended in the Martin greenhouse. “There were moments when I thought to myself, ‘Ah ha! I’m the first person in the world to see this!’” says Silverblatt-Buser.

Right after I pre-registered for Nick Kaplinsky’s plant biology class, I heard that he had an opening in his lab for summer research. I jumped at the opportunity, talked to him, and got the spot.

When I first began this research, I didn’t understand how it would affect my outlook for the future—and how it would change me. At first, it was intimidating. It could take a few weeks to finish one experiment, and these were experiments that I’d only heard professors talk about when they discussed postdoctorates working in labs. As time went on, I found it extremely rewarding and confidence-building. It provided me with the kinds of skills and experience needed to work in a lab and become a successful scientist.

My research involved a nice mix of biology and chemistry and included procedures I had learned about in my classes but didn’t think I would get the opportunity to perform until after graduation. I also got to use a focal microscope, an invention that has revolutionized the field of biology. As an honors major, I found this experience invaluable.

My research experience gave me a sense of freedom in the lab and I was able to design my own experiment.

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