From Student to Researcher: Summer Science Research Experience (SSRP)

My name is Chloe Sullivan, and it is my second year here at Ohio Wesleyan and I work as the STEM Career Intern in the Career Connection Office. 

Are you interested in pursuing a research opportunity? I thought it would be helpful to share my research experience and how it has supported my career growth.

Last summer I conducted research in Dr. Wolverton’s lab through the Summer Science Research Program (SSRP). The focus of our work was on understanding the gravity responses of plants and investigating how mutations in various genes influence these responses. This experience provided invaluable insights into bench work techniques and the day-to-day realities of lab work. It was during this experience that my passion for research was solidified.

Participating in SSRP not only increased my understanding of research but also helped in many other capacities:

  1. Communication Skills: Presenting the findings of my summer research at OWU’s Summer Science Research Symposium allowed me to refine my ability to communicate complex scientific concepts to diverse audiences– a crucial skill for any aspiring scientist.
  2. Enhanced Research Skills: The hands-on experience in Dr. Wolverton’s lab bolstered my resume and gave me more practice with a variety of lab techniques. This not only refined my technical abilities but also gave me talking points with prospective employers.
  3. Improved Application Materials: From crafting compelling resumes and cover letters to navigating how to secure letters of recommendation, the skills I developed during the application process have been invaluable in subsequent internship applications.
  4. A Strong Letter of Recommendation: Building a close working relationship with a faculty member over the summer gave me a glowing letter of recommendation– one that authentically reflects my capabilities and character. 
  5. Gateway to Future Opportunities: These experiences paved the way for my acceptance into an REU program in Bar Harbor, Maine for the upcoming summer. It is clear that the experience and skills I gained during SSRP played a major role in securing this opportunity.

Not every experience may perfectly match your long-term career goals, but each opportunity helps you grow and make valuable connections. The path to a fulfilling career or internship often includes experiences outside your field that shape and refine your trajectory.

By Chloe Sullivan
Chloe Sullivan