iCLEM Week Eight, by James Hoang

Monday, August 7, 2017

Berkeley Lab!

We started the day off with a tour of LBNL. The tour included a look into many labs which included the nanofabrication room, the Center for Electron Microscopy, and Chu Hall. After the tour, we had our iCLEM potluck. All of the science advisors came, and there was a ton of food. People (including me) were groaning about how full they were afterwards. As soon as the potluck ended, we jumped straight into a mock presentation. I was pretty nervous and messed up really badly, but that’s okay because there’s still two days left to prepare. Hopefully I can get it better by Wednesday!


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Spider silk

We worked on our presentations from about 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM. At 10:00, David Breslauer from Bolt Threads came in to talk about what he does at his company. I found his talk to be really cool, because he talked about how we could use artificial spider silk and other synthetic fabrics for many different uses. He showed us how he extracted silk from spiders by taping them down to a table and literally pulling out the silk! It was kind of hard to watch because I am slightly arachnophobic, but it was still really cool. We worked on our presentations for the rest of the day, with a mock presentation taking place in the main conference room after lunch. Despite the presentation being tomorrow, there were still a few things we had to polish up. Crunch time!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Big Day

Our big presentation day. The morning was spent working on our presentation and practicing in the conference room. The practice presentation went pretty well, but there were some things a few of us needed to work on. We practiced until about noon. Virginia and Rob had to leave for class in the afternoon, so Frankie and Annie were left to help us polish up our presentations. There were 1 on 1 sessions with some of the people who still had to work on their slides. The rest of us who were done with our slides just relaxed and calmed our nerves. I practiced tying my tie with some of the other boys during this time. We also had the conference room reserved for the entire day, so we could come in and practice at any time. As the time for our presentation grew closer and closer, we noticed that preparations were being made. Our teaching team’s posters were put up in the hall next to the conference room, and a taco bar was set up for everyone to eat. Before the presentation, we took a couple of group photos on the balcony. More and more people started to show up, so we went back into the conference room and prepared for our last presentation. Tons of people came. Dr. Singer started the presentation by saying a few words about JBEI and the iCLEM program, and then we started our presentation. The presentation was great and went really smoothly. There was a brief Q&A session afterwards. After the presentation, we stayed behind to take pictures. The teaching team were going to be somewhere else the next day, so we exchanged tearful goodbyes.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cleanup day

Everyone showed up in sweatpants this day. Most of the day was spent cleaning. In the morning, we cleaned the conference room. We wiped the tables, cleaned the fridge, and threw away all of our trash. Afterwards, we met the science advisors in the lab. They already did most of the cleaning for us, but there were still plates in the cold room and deli fridge that we had to throw into the biohazard bin. PeiWen had also written up thank you cards that we all signed, so we also gave those to the science advisors in the lab. Afterwards was our last lunch. We had leftovers of the taco bar from last night with most of the science advisors. Our last few games of foosball also took place. We said our somber goodbyes to the science advisors, and went back to the conference room to surrender our badges. We filled out a couple of surveys, and the program was over. We exchanged cheerful goodbyes to each other, confident that we would cross paths again someday. The experience that had changed us all was over.