Collaboration is very important in science. Scientists with different ideas coming together are able to create far more thoughtful research than just one on their own. Because of this, throughout biology classes I’ve taken at Longwood, I’ve worked with many different groups of people to collaborate on scientific research. Like one may expect, I’ve had both good and not as good experiences with groups, but I’ve figured out over time how to work better in a group setting and collaborate more effectively as a group member regardless of everyone else’s efforts or lack thereof.
BIOL 120: Biology 120 is the first class that biology majors are required to take. For this class, we work in a group to do a basic lab experiment involving growing plants with different levels of nutrient concentrations. This is a pre-designed lab that I did with 2 different group mates. It was my first time working in a group as a biology major, and I definitely learned a lot. When working in a group (especially with people new to the subject), it’s important to understand that everyone is working at different levels, and you need to be patient as people learn and work at their own pace. With that, I learned that when working in a group, you need to help people learn so that they can keep up with the project material. One of my group members was trying to work really fast through our project leaving our other group member struggling to keep up or even understand what we were doing. I noticed that she really wanted to learn and contribute, so I made sure to help her out and keep her up to speed the best I could. This project introduced me to what working with different types of people in a biology context was like, and overall it was a really good learning experience.
BIOL 251: Biology 251 is Longwood’s introduction to ecology. This class was my first time designing a novel lab experiment which I did with a group of 3 other students. This was an interesting experience because none of us had designed an experiment before, and we were limited on time and resources, so we had to be a little creative. I learned more about working with groups and how to try and listen to everyone’s ideas, but also be realistic. Someone had an idea that we all liked, but I ended up having to question her about the logistics of it because I didn’t think it was possible with our time constraints, and we all agreed that it wasn’t. I ended up coming up with the idea that we used for our experiment because mine was the most reasonable to achieve with our resources. This project really helped me focus on resource management and realize that you can’t always just go along with someone in a group, but you need to be thinking critically about research at all times.
Artifact (link to slides): https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1fZjCtpFN6XTw-4A-M3127zkULDaQwfiwmwhteckNxUA/edit?usp=sharing
BIOL 450: Biology of cancer is one of the highest level classes I’ve taken at Longwood. We looked closely at the biological concepts that allow for cancer to form. Because mutation is the biggest factor in cancer formation, we were tasked with designing a group research experiment using databases that log genetic mutations in different cancer cells. I worked with a larger group for this project which proved to be helpful in some ways and more detrimental in others. It was helpful to have more ideas coming from more people, but it was also harder to schedule times for us to get together to work on our project. That being said, because it was a 400-level class, everyone was more focused on the project and wanted to produce high quality research. We also had more skills when it came to analyzing the data and it was much easier to split up work when we couldn’t get together, because everyone was more than willing to pull their weight. This was a really good group project experience that helped me learn to trust my group because we designed a high quality research question, answered it effectively and presented the topic well.
Artifact (link to slides): https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1fyALmCCpFsDqLwTMKw2qPjPYCMxVjx385EUueY13dvo/edit?usp=sharing