P. Antoinette White: My Experience with the ArtSciLab

I was with the ArtSciLab for a little under two years. During this time, I was able to collaborate on a number of different projects, aside from the main one I was hired for. This was a perfect representation of what the lab was based on: people with different backgrounds coming together to collaborate on any number of projects, with the intent of creating something. The lab sought to bring together all the various interests individuals may have, while seeking knowledge. Coincidentally, the main project I worked on was with Alex Garcia Topete, and it focused on the interdisciplinarity of research. I saw firsthand how useful it is to work alongside people who have a different background than I do: other lab members would give us ideas or perspectives that we did not have, and could help us with things we did not have experience with.

It was an environment of people seeking to learn and create. We would sometimes have debates about subjects that had nothing to do with what our projects were, and even though they could get heated it was all in good faith; as I said before, it was just a group of people getting together to search for knowledge.

I was also constantly asked if there was anything in particular that I was interested in that I would like to work on. I never was, but I know that if it had been the case my ideas would have been looked into and, if plausible, come to fruition. It was very obvious that the lab’s mentality was one of growth, and of helping others develop their ideas and, in turn, themselves.

I also got to practice working at my own pace, knowing when I had to turn something in and being solely responsible for getting it done. Organizational skills are key when working in research, and this will particularly carry over to my future employment: I am going on to work as a financial analyst, and I will have to organize myself in a way in which I can turn in my projects when they are due.

I am taking with me the sense of working as a team, which I know will be very important in any future employment. I will also take with me the feeling that I can express ideas and proposals freely, and the feeling that working as a team is usually better than working alone.