The internship portion of the Kenan Fellowship has come to a close and my emotions and experiences are as diverse as the colonies that we had appear on some of our soil plates. I have a continued enthusiasm for the work that we are doing and how it can translate to student’s hands, but the role of exhaustion has set in. I am so glad for that feeling. Getting to this point has renewed my vision of how teachers and STUDENTS get at pivotal times throughout the year. As a coach it makes me understand that I have to pull out of my personal and professional repertoire to help them pull through the exhaustion to get to the end goal. The internship and entering back into the world of learner this summer has left an impact on the way I am approaching the new year.
We were fortunate to be mentored by Dr. Julia Stevens and Dr. Julie Urban. Being in their presence everyday and seeing their enthusiasm for the science, but also their commitment to the continuation of the science makes me see a vertical bridge from the K-12 education world to the real world and cutting edge science. I see this translating into classrooms but also into student’s future careers.
Some of the most exciting aspects of the internship were rooted in personal and professional experiences. I was fortunate as an undergrad to work in a genetics lab decades ago that was in the inception of DNA sequencing. Professionally and personally seeing the exponential growth and advancements in DNA research, equipment, accessibility (GEN-Bank), make me excited for the applications in both the classroom and the world in general.
Each day as we delved into the lab work I was mentally tabbing how the work was impacting applications in medicine, the environment, the world, and how if the research and science had been what they are today my mom who died of metastatic breast cancer might very well be alive. That revelation, along with the possibilities that the lab and science opens up was the most AHA moment I had throughout the four weeks. Another AHA moment was just watching our mentors in their world. I chose a different path and continued my education much later in life than these amazing women did. I don’t regret my path, but I certainly will use them as role models for students while I coach them about how many more opportunities are open to you by obtaining your education earlier in your career.
The one conscience effort that I made while in the internship was to step back and immerse myself in the world and not take on the leadership role I am in daily. This made the experience richer for me because it forced me out of my comfort zone and made me more passive in my daily roles. This was rewarding but became a struggle as well. I had to learn to hold back at times, although I was never asked to, I put this limitation on myself, and at times I found it challenging. On the flip side, the challenge became another lens that I looked through and I learned a lot about my personal interpersonal skills and relationships.
This has been the experience of a lifetime and my path is richer for having it.