Undergraduate – Fantahun Tedla
Your name and what is/was your background (what is your major, why science, etc)?
My Name is Fantahun Tedla I studied at Washington state university from 2006-2008. I graduated in May of 2008 with a degree in Microbiology with the intention of continuing my education in health science.
Why did you decide to join a research lab? How did the experience compare to what you had expected?
I joined the research lab to get some hands on research experience in science and to be able to see if what I have learned in many of my classes measured against an actual research experience. My experiences were a lot more fun and exciting than what I have expected. I was afraid that I wasn’t prepared enough to conduct a research in one of the state of the art WSU research facilities, however I was happy to learn that everybody in the lab was more than happy to teach me the skills that are necessary to do my job and they cared about my learning as much as the task that is needed to be done.
What was cool, exciting or most interesting about your time in the lab?
It was very excited to learn how to use the many state of the art equipments that the plant bioscience lab has. I remember my first task as a student researcher was to extract DNA, from a cherry leaf and to this date it is probably one of the coolest things I have ever done.
If you would recommend conducting research in a science lab to others, what would you tell them to get them interested in the idea?
I strongly recommend conducting research in science labs. Everybody in your classes gets college education. It is your research experience, which gives you the edge over your competition and helps you secure that job, or acceptance to grad school once you have graduated. Working in research lab is something you can talk to your friends and brag about 5, 10 years after you have graduated, I know I am.
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 currently attending a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies program at Alderson Broaddus College in Philippi WV.
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?
Absolutely! Working in a lab does not only teach you technical knowledge it also an opportunity to learn how to work with others and develop a teamwork mentality. As part of your research, you get to present your research/ work in different venues whether it is for donor groups or the campus community in general. That is a great opportunity for you to work on your communication and interpersonal skills. Skills that are immensely important as you move forward in your professional lives.
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?
There is nothing I can think of right now. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Amit Dhingra, a leading researcher and scientist and his PHD student Derick Jwain. They not only made my lab experience educating and exiting but also are instrumental in my continued success in my education. Working for WSU researchers, like Dr. Amit, is a privilege and an opportunity that would positively affect your life for a long time to come.
Do you feel better prepared for the workplace or future academic endeavors as a result of your time in the lab?
Yes. As someone who was absolutely terrified of speaking in public, I think those days when I was working on my research in Dr.Amit’s lab and had to present on my research on many occasions, was the beginning of my learning how to be better at communication, and conveying my message across. Now as A student physician assistant, I realize how important that communication skill is and I am grateful that my experience has helped me to be better at what I do today.
Any other comments?
I want to leave everyone with a quote from Mark Twain about the importance of learning by doing. A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
– Mark Twain