Our trip to St. Louis has been one of the best experiences I have had as part of the McKearn Fellows Program. It was exciting to know that we would all be taking a trip together and creating memories that would be with us as we continue on our journey through our undergraduate education and beyond. However, as excited as I was, I was also fairly nervous about various things including what to wear for business casual and business formal attire and how to act in front of Mr. and Mrs. McKearn. However, these concerns quickly vanished as soon as we met the McKearns and were greeted with a warm, friendly atmosphere. The experience at the McKearn residence was a lot more laid back than we had all originally thought. One thing that helped was the practice we had delivering our elevator pitches about the research we were conducting this summer. It really helped break the ice between everyone and gave the Mckearns a general idea of who we were and what interests we had. I was very impressed at how aware they were in topics that seemed to have nothing to do with their careers. In the end, the McKearns turned out to be really kind and friendly people who were very interested in our experiences with the program, and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience at their residence.
I think as we continue with our experiences through the program, we will grow socially, globally, and civically through the various activities and encounters with people not necessarily in our major of interest. It is through diverse experiences that we begin to get a broader awareness of the kind of world we live in and be able to see how our future careers fit into the bigger picture.
It has been a wonderful privilege for us to be able to participate in this program and learn from workshops on library research, ethics in research, and how to make good presentations. Activities such as volunteering at camp power and various excursions helped us to develop our leadership skills and social and civic awareness. I have also been very grateful for the opportunity to be able to conduct research on energy storage systems with my mentors, Dr. Donald Zinger and Dr. Kevin Martin. They have been an essential part of moving this project forward helping me to overcome learning gaps and giving me a clear direction to follow throughout our time together.
As we move forward towards the end of this summer, I hope that we will continue to develop wonderful relations with everyone in this program and focus on our continual social, global, and civic development. It will definitely be a unique experience to be able to complete the projects we are working on and present them at the Summer Research Symposium in hopes that they will be an inspiration for future projects to come.