Congratulations are in order for Conan C. – this junior biomedical engineering major won 2nd place for Student Employee of the Year! Here’s what he has to say about his work as a research assistant in the Mumm Lab at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute:

Emily H.: How did you get started working at Hopkins?

Conan C.: I started working in the Mumm Lab in the fall of my freshman year. I was searching through the student job portal for a research job, and found this one the most interesting. I’ve also worked in the Office of Student Life and as a Student Leadership Consultant.

EH: What are your job responsibilities?

CC: I work with a post-doctoral student on a project to study neuroprotectants on rod photoreceptors, and have an independent project studying the mechanism of a rod degeneration model. We use a zebrafish model to study these cells, so I spent my first few weeks cleaning tanks, before eventually doing the cool stuff.

EH: So, what does that mean in non-science major English?

CC: I study regeneration in the eye, and test drugs to protect eye damage.

EH: What skills have you gained from this position?

CC:  I’ve learned a lot of the basic lab skills that can be applied to any lab, but more importantly, I developed intuition on how to think scientifically and logically. 

EH: You said before that you found this research opportunity the most interesting. Why is that?

CC: Having worn glasses since I was a baby, I’ve always had a fascination for how vision works. It’s cool to learn how it works firsthand.

EH: How has this position shaped your Hopkins experience?

CC: It’s defined my experience. I am very lucky to have a great group of mentors in the lab who support me both in academics and in life. I can always go to them for advice or just to complain about my problems. It’s great to get off campus and focus on something other than academics.

EH: What advice do you have for job-seeking students?

CC: Don’t be afraid to reach out to potential employers! More often than not, they will be happy to answer your questions and be impressed by your initiative.

Thanks for the advice, Conan! If you’re looking for a cool research job like this, be sure to read these tips.

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