Libby Breton Blog
Being an undergraduate researcher in the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at Michigan State University was such an incredible experience that I never expected to have. I’m a Biology major at Siena Heights University, so applying to this program was a little out of my scope of knowledge. However, the program interested me because it can benefit everyone across the globe and generations to come. When I arrived on campus, I met my fellow interns and I suddenly lost all confidence in myself.
As we began to talk and get to know one another, several of the other students mentioned their previous internships and research positions at their schools and wondered if this one would be similar. I am an upcoming senior with no previous research experience, and my University is very small and doesn’t have the resources or laboratory work like MSU or the schools my GLBRC peers came from. So, needless to say, I was feeling very small and overwhelmingly nervous.
All changed when I arrived to Dr. Ding’s lab, where I would be working all summer on my project about applying pretreatments to cellulosic biomass. I met my two mentors, Cynthia Collings and Dr. Wei Shen, who welcomed me graciously and my fears started easing away.
Soon after I arrived, my mentors helped me realize just because I didn’t have a lot of previous research experience didn’t mean I couldn’t make the most of this opportunity and be successful this summer, which I believe I did! I can never thank them enough for their patience in teaching me how a lab works and what life will be like as a graduate student. I learned more than I ever thought I would this summer, not only about working in a lab and the GLBRC but about myself and my interests as well.
I can’t wait to share my experiences and new perspective on biofuels with my peers and professors back at Siena Heights.