Jessalyn Tackett: The eye-opening effect of undergraduate research
Publishing research in one of the GSA Journals as an undergraduate is a significant and valuable authorship experience and we want to hear your story (even if it was published years ago!). GSA’s Spotlight on Undergraduate Research showcases GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics authors who were undergraduates when contributing to their paper.
Undergraduate Senior, Hendrix College
Research Advisor: Dr. Andrea Duina
How did you become involved in research?
Interest meetings were held at Hendrix College for those interested in research opportunities, and upon hearing Dr. Duina present the research projects in his lab, I applied, and thankfully, I was accepted to work in the lab.
What was it like authoring and contributing to this paper?
The research opportunity was the experience I enjoyed most during my undergraduate career. There were several of us involved in this project, and we each contributed to different parts of the project. A great amount of effort and time was put into each part of the project, and it was an honor to work as a part of this team. Everyone worked hard, and seeing all of the pieces come together was beautifully rewarding. It brought new understanding to material I had learned in my undergraduate classes.
What was the most interesting (or fun!) aspect of your time working on this project?
There was always an opportunity to learn something new, and being able to work on one part of the project, and then contribute to other parts of the project was very enjoyable. Watching genetics take place right in front of your eyes is incredibly beautiful. I loved being able to perform crosses, and then verify that we had the crosses we needed through phenotypic tests and DNA sequencing. Simply observing these genetic events unfold in the lives of S. cerevisiae organisms was a beautiful experience.
How did working on this project influence what you’re doing now (if at all)?
Working on this project helped me realize that there were different career paths one could take in the field of science. Many students around me were applying to medical school, and there was a large push for medical school, but working in the lab gave me the opportunity to meet other people and realize that together we all contribute to science. It gave me a deep appreciation for research itself, as well as undergraduate professors who not only conduct this research, but take the time to educate undergraduate students in this hands-on approach. This experience also gave me a desire to keep up with research, and it gave me the tools to do so.