The 2012 Summer Course in Biophysics came to an end earlier this August with group trip to a local ice cream stand. The twelve undergraduate students had spent the day presenting their independent summer research projects to their TAs, lab supervisors, and PIs. The final symposium concluded a course filled with lectures, quizzes and independent biophysics-related research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The students lived together in a dorm, collaborated on weekly homework assignments, and participated in scientific seminars and poster presentations together.
The celebratory ice cream trip marked one of the last nights the students would spend
together in Chapel Hill before heading back home, whether to Detroit, Puerto Rico, or Connecticut. It also marked the start of a new beginning for many of the participants who spend the summer realizing just how exciting biophysics research can be.
“Looking back now, I would never have expected to grow this much, both as a research and as a person overall. Here I was, a hardcore biology major jumping into the fray of biophysics with almost no physics background, totally out of my comfort zone. Yet, as the uncomfortability subsided, I realized that perhaps it is occasionally stepping outside of your comfort zone that allows for learning and growth to happen—much like how the roots of a plant grow outward, yearning for more space and nutrients as the plant grows, that if the roots had stayed within their comfort zone, never growing out and looking for more nutrients, the plant would never give itself the opportunity to grow to its fullest potential.”
– Nawaphon Sittisawassakul, 2012 Summer Course participant, rising junior at SUNY Purchase