Why we are the NICE “Group”

by Shannon – One of the major reasons I became a scientist was my love of discovery. I love seeing, hearing, and, especially LEARNING new things. And the moment that one stops listening, one stops learning. For this reason, our lab is not a kingdom.  I am not a queen, and I do not bestow knowledge upon my subjects. It is not a one-way street. In the NICE Group, wisdom comes from each and every member of the lab. Be they summer intern or postdoc, everyone can have the next big idea, the solution to the problem, or the information on a topic.  As PI, my major role is to offer advice from experience – to help structure experimental plans, and to guide lab members towards their goals. But, I am a student as much as they are, and over the course of 2.5 years, they have taught me so much more than I could ever teach them.

One of my proudest moments recently as a PI was watching my lab members run a three-hour practical session for the SERB Chemical Ecology workshop entirely on their own.  The practical took place in 4 places at once, so it was impossible for me to direct them. But, as I wandered around the groups answering questions here and there, it was apparent that the NICE Group members were not just showing the attendees how to do the experiments, but they were teaching them.  The proudest possible moment that a PI can experience is witnessing their students teaching others.  Because that’s when you know they truly understand their craft.

The lab is a second family to me, and the NICE Group and I are growing together in our understanding of chemical ecology and neuroethology. I couldn’t ask for a better group of brilliant, passionate scientists to work with each day, and I am grateful each time I open the door to the lab.

When the students become the teachers

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