Hello again! My name is Liz Thornton; I am a student at Sto-Rox High School and live in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. I will be entering school as a senior this year, and am a second year Project SEED student. Last year when I first began my research in Dr. Cascio’s lab under the guidance of Chelsee, an amazing graduate student that help me so much, I did not think I would ever understand what it was that I was supposed to be doing. I spent the first week reading the same three papers over and over again. I picked every other word apart and put them into Google. Then I read the papers again. I went to Chelsee to get a better understanding of what parts of the paper I should spend the most time learning, because they were the most relevant to what I would be doing. Then I went to Mr. Lucas and read it again with his help. Although he couldn’t help me very much because he doesn’t do biochemistry and didn’t know many of the biology words used the way he told me how to figure them out really helped. After reading for the same paper over and over again even when I closed my eyes I could see the words. It was hard work, and my sister who is an alumni of Project SEED warned me it would be tough, but that I had to be persistent, and I was. Soon I understood what I was doing and little by little everything that I didn’t understand started making sense. It just takes time, energy, and the want to learn it. This year I am working on the same project, which is mutating the ɑ1 glycine receptor which will aid in understand the conformational changes of the receptor and help in studies that could help treat neurological disorders related to the nervous system, but since my cells are working I will be doing more than just the mutation part of the procedure.
Along with the hard work came the great fun that came with knowing all the Project SEED students (even the adopted ones…Chris). We would spend our lunch time eating and playing and just enjoying getting to know each other and becoming friends. From the lunch time to the field trips we became a family. We turned to each other for help and to vent our problems. We encouraged each other to do our best, and pushed each other. Having the opportunity to spend this summer with three students I already know from school, and two students I am excited to get to know I expect it to be just as amazing as last year. The week of summer I spent waiting for Project SEED to start did not feel like summer without Project SEED my summer would be awful. So now that Project SEED has started so has my summer, and I know it will be an awesome one!