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Student-Faculty Research Opportunities Help Biochemistry Major Land Research Job at MIT's Jacks Lab

Grace Crossland '18 is headed to The Jacks Lab at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Grace Crossland '18 is headed to The Jacks Lab at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Video by Joe O'Neill

Grace Crossland '18

After getting hands-on cancer research experience through two student-faculty research projects at Dickinson College, Grace Crossland '18 will be working as a research technician in the Jacks Lab at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Below, she discusses how Dickinson prepared her for this position, the defining moments of her four years here and what she's most anticipating about her future.

Major: biochemistry & molecular biology

Certificate: health studies

Hometown: Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

What will you be studying/doing?

I will be working as a research technician in The Jacks Lab at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. The lab focuses mostly on studying lung and pancreatic cancers using mouse models, and I will be working directly under the advisement of a postdoctoral fellow in the lab on a project aiming to determine the obstacles preventing effective immune responses to tumors.

How has Dickinson prepared you for your future?

Most directly relevant to my new job, Dickinson has provided me multiple opportunities to participate in hands-on research, through which I've been able to take complete ownership of my work and be a major contributor to the research. Additionally, being a part of the research process has taught me to think critically, solve problems and pose new research questions, which will be essential for a career in the biomedical sciences. But more broadly, the liberal-arts education that Dickinson has provided me has helped me learn how to communicate effectively about a wide variety of topics, allowing me to feel confident that no matter the path I choose, I will have the skills necessary to adapt to new situations.

What internship or research experiences have you had at Dickinson?

I've worked on two separate research projects in my time at Dickinson—one with [Assistant] Professor [of Chemistry] Rebecca Connor and one with [Associate] Professor [of Biology] Michael Roberts.  Both of these experiences provided me the opportunity to spend a summer on campus working in the lab full time gaining hands-on research experience. Additionally, I had the opportunity to present my work on both of these research experiences at professional conferences.

What are you most anticipating about your future?

I'm most excited about the opportunity to be surrounded by cutting-edge science and research every single day. In the past year, I have learned that the my love for science stems from the process of continuously asking new questions and working to find the answers, so being able to invest myself in that process full-time for the next two years is very exciting to me. Beyond the two-year position that I've accepted, what excites me most about my future is the number of possibilities there are in terms of what my career may be.  

What are some of the defining moments of your Dickinson experience?

Many of my most defining moments at Dickinson have revolved around my research—presenting at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference, writing an honors thesis, etc. However, some of my most meaningful moments have been outside of science. In my four years at Dickinson, I have been a member of the Dog House, serving on the executive board twice and living in the house for a year. So coming from this experience, seeing the success of the dogs that I've helped raise over the past four years has been a really important part of my Dickinson experience. The Dog House was one of the reasons I chose to come to Dickinson, so having had the opportunity to be heavily involved in the club and be a part of raising successful service dogs that are now improving the lives of others is one of the most defining aspects of my Dickinson experience.

Find out what other members of the class of 2018 are doing after graduation.

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Published May 22, 2018