With a thousand smiles

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of folks who had started a small, local foundation to support children with epilepsy and their families. This couple had started this memorial foundation in honor of their son. As part of their foundation’s mission, they want to advocate epilepsy research, and one way they are doing this is by awarding a couple of summer fellowships that allow undergraduates to perform epilepsy research and to shadow an epilepsy physician during their rounds. One of my undergraduates was fortunate enough to receive one of these fellowships and she has been doing a great job on the project. This student would likely be working on the same project even if she had not received the fellowship, and will continue working on this during her senior year. But what is nice about the fellowship is that she really gets to see that what she is doing in the lab really matters to someone, and is not just a bunch of benchwork. It made me really proud to see her enthusiastically explain her project to the foundation folks yesterday (they even made a little video!) and express how much she appreciated their support and her opportunity to meet patients while she was doing the rounds. She expressed how she’s thinking of becoming a neurologist and how she hopes to continue doing basic research after medical school. And you could see that the couple was following everything she was saying, and were really understanding about the importance of basic research which sometimes seems so far removed from producing an actual treatment, and feeling very proud that they were able to provide this opportunity for my student. And this goes to show that even a little fellowship like this, while not a huge amount of money, can have a big impact, can make someone who is smart and enthusiastic feel like her work is important and keep encouraging her to continue to do research, adding one more talented and enthusiastic person to the scientific and medical community. It also gives me some perspective into why I do what I do, and why it matters.

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1 Response to With a thousand smiles

  1. That is nice. 🙂 Glad your student could have the opportunity.

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