Ryan Charles, a junior in psychology, originally was a biology premedical major. He worked for two years in the laboratory of Dr. Jason S. Meyer, an expert in stem cell-derived retinal ganglion cells. As a sophomore recipient of the RISE to the IUPUI Challenge Undergraduate Research Scholarship Award of the Center for Research and Learning (CRL), during Ryan’s second year in the Meyer lab he was under the mentorship of then-postdoctoral fellow Jessica A. Cooke. In a meeting with CRL executive director Dominique M. Galli, Ryan learned that CRL needed ambassadors, and he has been serving in this capacity ever since.
"In the same sort of way that I was I excited to be included by my research mentors, I get excited about engaging with students. I tell them, ‘It’s not that exclusive. Here’s how you do it, this is really exciting, and this opportunity is waiting for you!’ That was very rewarding to do at the tabling events when students came up and seemed very intimidated to be in a place where there were so many opportunities that sound out-of-reach. CRL is seeking out people who want to engage in this. I like being able to reach out to people also in the poster sessions that we do. It’s very interesting to interact with people that have done all these different things. It reminds me of the broad scope of research and how it can be applied and how it doesn’t just pertain to a lab or what the ‘clip-art version’ of research is, that it’s a test tube. It’s very engaging and inspiring. Being able to support people in that way makes me think what CRL’s contributing to with funding people’s research. It’s very encouraging; I want to be a part of that vision, for sure.”
Of his experience as a CRL ambassador Ryan reflects, “It definitely is rewarding to take a leadership role in something that you care about; to be on-the-hook for that gives you ownership over what you put on résumés and applications. That can really change the way you approach your field or your dreams, your career. It’s been very rewarding being able to contribute to something that I believe in."
CRL ambassadors share joy of research with fellow undergraduates
Monday, January 01, 2018