Lab goodbyes are always bittersweet for PIs. We are proud of our students' accomplishments and excited for them as they move on to new projects. We are also going to miss our trainees for the energy they bring to the work and for the excellent scientific abilities they have developed in their time in the lab. In normal times, we celebrate these moments with lunches and toasts. For now, we are not in normal times. Celebrations and commendation are taking place on Zoom and on blogs like this one. Parties will happen later. In the meantime, three excellent students who have worked in my group in the last semester are finishing up and moving on. Below are some reflections on these excellent early career researchers.
MinJeong finished up her work in the group on the last day that we were able to to research on campus in mid-March. She was the first person in my group in Winnipeg. She has a great mind for details and an excellent ability to manage experiments in the greenhouse. She was a quick study with the IRGA and has a keen eye for plant health. I never worried about work being done exactly as planned with MinJeong. She was able to keep calm and get things done even when work was challenging. I couldn't have asked for a better first person to join my group. She set the tone for things to come: high quality research with a great attitude and a dose of fun!
Sean and Judy finish their co-op terms in the group today. They joined the lab in January and have really knocked my socks off! Since they started, they have learned to program in R, they've learned to run statistical tests, they've learned to use ggplot! In the lab, they learned to grow plants for experiments, to extract super-high-quality nucleic acids, design and optimize qPCR assays, to perform physiological assays on plants. They've learned to use many pieces of lab equipment. They've learned to set goals and organize data. They've made some great presentations to the group and have contributed in critical ways to manuscripts that will be submitted shortly. Their easy going natures and self-motivation have made the transition to remote work much easier than I would have predicted it could be.
I'm so proud of the work they have done this semester and I wish them good luck as they move on to their next ventures. I will miss them.
Here is a picture of MinJeong, Judy, and Sean as they prepared for the final day of on campus research before the shutdown in March.