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I, like State University, constantly work to explore the limits of nature by exceeding expectations.Long an amateur scientist, it was this drive that brought me to the University of Texas for its Student Science Training Program in 2013.
However, this does not isolate students by forcing them to work with only those individuals who follow their specific discipline.
Instead, it is the seamless interaction between facilities that allows each department, from engineering to programming, to create a real learning environment that profoundly mimics the real world.
Science in all its forms fascinated me, but science projects in particular were a category all to themselves.
To me, science projects were a special joy that only grew with time.
In fact, it was this continued fascination for hands-on science that brought me years later to the sauna that is the University of Alabama in mid-June.
Participating in the Student Science Training Program and working in their lab made me feel like a kid in a candy store.Just the thought of participating in a project at this level of scientific rigor made me forget that this was supposed to be my summer break and I spent the first day eagerly examining every piece of equipment.Even at first, when the whole research group sat there doing rote calculations and others felt like they were staring down the barrel of defeated purpose, I remained enthusiastic.Time and time again I reminded myself of that famous phrase "great effort leads to great rewards," and sure enough, soon my aspirations began to be met. During the experimentation phase of the project, I spent the majority of my waking hours in the lab – and I enjoyed every minute of it.This shift in attitude also coincided with a shift in location: from the computer desk to the laser lab. From debriefing with my coordinator in the morning to checking and rechecking results well into the afternoon, I was on cloud nine all day, every day.I even loved the electric feeling of anxiety as I waited for the results.Most of all, though, I loved the pursuit of science itself.Up to that point science had been my private past time, one I had yet to explore on anyone else’s terms. Participating for the first time in a full-length research experiment at that level, I felt more alive, more engaged, than I ever had before.Learning the complex dynamics between electromagnetic induction and optics in an attempt to solve one of the holy grails of physics, gravitational-waves, I could not have been more pleased.Where others see the engineering, experimentation, and presentation of science as a chore, I only see excitement.Even as a child I constantly sought it out, first on television with Bill Nye and The Mythbusters, then later in person in every museum exhibit I could find.