When I think about moments in my life as a reeling motion picture, there are several scenes that seem to play in near slow motion. Every minute, every second is continuously vivid because these snapshots were important to influencing who I have become and who I am yet to be as either a scientific advocate, humanitarian, or more well-rounded individual. My summer at KBS has become a scene in particular that I am confident will play in vibrancy as my years pass by. The summer only got riper with age; my brain was filled with learning, my body of self-improvement, and my mind of exploration. I would consider my summer at KBS the ultimate summer experience, and it exceeded my expectations in every department.
First session, along with working in the Litchman Lab I was enrolled in “Environmental and Travel Writing” taught by Dr. Donnie Sackey. It was evident after the course had finished that my awareness surrounding environmental justice prior to this class was nearly pathetic. Although most of our time spent was spent in the classroom, our class trip visiting the environmental justice sights in Detroit shattered every assumption I was ever force fed from the ignorance of those around me, or the media about the corruption and injustice directed towards citizens that live near these sights. Let me tell you, the quality of life is in no way adequate. I have truly been inspired by this course to serve as an advocate and speak out on behalf of our Earth in order to combat greedy politicians, avid Facebook users who believe everything they see on the internet, and those who deny that our Earth’s climate is changing.
Session two consisted of long hours spent working in the lab. It was hands down the most rewarding experience of my summer. Despite the fact it is the reason I enrolled at KBS in the first place, personally it has become a beacon of growth. As a pre-med major, my knowledge on evolutionary biology, chemistry, statistics, and computer science has incredibly expanded, but this is basic to me. Working in a live lab setting over the past eleven weeks it is impossible for me to exclude the benefits that will travel with me throughout the rest of my career, whatever that may be. Learning to work through and recover from failures or stressful situations, being precise and efficient, and being conscientious that every tedious action affects either something or someone else; these skills cannot be genuinely taught in a lecture hall. With the friendly and focused environment my colleagues provided this summer, I am more aware of the way I function as an employee, and ultimately I could not have asked for better.
Eyes wide open, I waved goodbye to my parents May 24th when I arrived at KBS. I blinked once and it became the Fourth of July. I blinked twice; now my final presentation and ultimately my farewell is in one short week. The epicenter of my experience here has been my lab work, but the smiles, the friendships, the new perspectives and sunsets make you feel as though you’ve been etched into a children’s book lie in the peripherals. Thank you to my incredible mentor Danny O’Donnell and the rest of the KBS faculty for providing the summer of a lifetime, it has made me realize this is only the beginning.