My first experience as a ‘supervisor’

David Vendrami, Early Stage Researcher for CACHE, based at the University of Bielefeld, continues his blog:

“It’s been a really productive month: I worked hard and I was able to achieve some really nice results in each one of the three different projects that I’m currently working on (all of them related with CACHE of course). And, if I can, I have to say that I’m also pretty proud of myself! The reason is that I had to face some work-related ‘problems’ that I’ve never dealt with before, and I figured out how to overcome them in a very effective way (I’ll spare the details!). Anyway, now I would like to talk to you about one particular thing that made the last month so nice: my first experience in supervising some students!

5. Elena_on_the_PCRcycler

Elena on the PCRcycler.

Usually  in August people go on vacation, but two very motivated undergraduate students, Cara and Elena, decided to join me to work together on shellfish genetics and collect some research experience in the field of molecular ecology. First of all, we talked about the general project and about the specific analyses they wanted to do. And after that we were already in the lab! We went through the whole procedure together and, for the first few days, they were performing their analysis directly under my eyes. I was amazed about how accurate they were while performing the procedure and also about how fast they learnt it! For this reason, after a few days, we agreed that they didn’t need me anymore to look at what they were doing. Anyway, they were always keeping me updateded about everything they were doing. I did my best to be always friendly and available to answer any question or discuss any doubts that may have arised. I’m happy to say that we built a really cool relationship: we were happy to work together and we were excited about how things were going on. I said ‘were’ because, unfortunately, Cara and Elena finished their ‘internship’ a few days ago… I’ll miss them! But they did such a great job, that their analysis will be included in one of my next papers and they’ll also receive authorship for that.

This was the first time in my life I was supervising students and it has been an incredibly pleasant and satisfying activity, for mainly two reasons: from the one hand is really nice to see your students producing really good results based on what you taught them; and on the other hand it is really cool that someone shows interest in what you are doing and that they want to learn from you (at the same time is really amazing to teach someone what you love doing, in my case research in the field of molecular ecology).

Lucy pipetting.

Lucy pipetting.

Last but not least, as I’ve just said, Cara and Elena finished their internship… But there’s no time to cry because another student has just arrived in Bielefeld from Glasgow and she’s going to join me to work on shellfish genetics as well! Welcome Lucy!”

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