Undergraduate – Christina Kapoi
Your name and what is/was your background (what is your major, why science, etc)?
Hi my name is Christina Kapoi. I received a BS in Civil Engineering as an undergrad at Washington State University. I have always been interested in math and science and engineering provided a great balanced between these interests.
Why did you decide to join a research lab? How did the experience compare to what you had expected?
I did not want to pass up such a great opportunity when I heard about the position at the lab. I like trying new things because it makes you more knowledgeable and broadens your horizons. When I first started at the lab I didn’t know anything about horticulture so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As I became more involved in the lab and the research I was helping with I realize that I was getting a lot more out of the lab than a part-time job, I was working on an interesting and important project.
What was cool, exciting or most interesting about your time in the lab?
It is hard to say what I found most exciting and interesting during my time at the lab. My time at the lab was such a great learning experience. It taught me many things about working in a research facility including: how to analyze data, how to work with other researchers, how to work safely in a laboratory and much more. I would say my whole experience at the lab was exciting and I enjoyed coming to work every day.
If there is something in particular you learned or discovered that you’d like to share with others, please take a moment to tell us about it.
While working in a research environment it taught me how to accurately document each of my steps throughout my research process, this skill was very transferable to engineering and gave me the ability to improve my work in my major
If you would recommend conducting research in a science lab to others, what would you tell them to get them interested in the idea?
Washington State University has many different extracurricular activities for a student to choose from, while being a research assistant wasn’t the first thing that I thought of doing, it is a great opportunity. College is the time where you can explore many different studies and personal interests; there is no better time to get involved in a research opportunity then here at school.
We’d love to know what you’re up to, so please give us a brief description of where you are working or going to school now.
I am pursuing my masters of science in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Structural engineering at Washington State University.
Did the lab experience help you with your classes or your perspective about science? Did working in the lab help you with developing other skills like time management or communication?
As I mentioned earlier, the experience I gained at the lab was more then just learning how to conduct a research project. It allowed me to develop skills in time management, strengthened my communication skills and ability to coordinate with other members of my group. Most of all it let me develop friendships with students that I wouldn’t have come in contact with otherwise.
Was there anything in particular you would have liked us to do different to enhance your learning or interest from the time spent in the lab?
This is nothing I would like you to do different. One thing I hope you continue to do is encourage interaction between everyone at the lab. I really enjoyed meeting new students and researchers from all different backgrounds and fields of studies.
Do you feel better prepared for the workplace or future academic endeavors as a result of your time in the lab?
Yes, my time at the lab was a great learning experience and one that I could not get anywhere else than at the university. It has provided me an opportunity to learn more than what I could be taught in the classroom. The hands on experience I gained working at the lab, is priceless. I often use examples from my experience at the lab during interviews for internships and jobs. My overall experience at the lab has provided me with much more than just a monetary gain; I can’t stress enough the importance of getting hands on work experience while you are continuing your education. This was the best job I had while pursuing my degree; I would recommend working in a research lab to any student.
Any other comments?