Student Spotlight: Gagan Sanghera

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Student Spotlight: Gagan Sanghera

By: coopcom
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Student Name: Gagan Sanghera
3rd Year MBB undergraduate
Position: Research Assistant, UBC Division of Infectious Control.
Quote: “Everything in the text is proven, discovered, and old. With research, everything is new!”

How did you join the Co-op program?
At the beginning, I completely didn’t know what to do with my degree. A friend of mine recommended Co-op to me, saying that it’s good way to get lab work experience to get an understanding of what work there is available. For an MBB student, lab experience is very important.

What does your current Co-op job entail?
I’m currently assisting a PhD student with her research, which involves numerous different protocols. I’ve mainly been working with yeast transformed with fragments of tuberculosis genome and assaying them for growth defects. I’ve also been assisting in a lot of cloning experiments using various restriction digestion enzymes. Some of the other lab work includes cell culturing, gel electrophoresis, plus general lab duties such as restocking reagents and pipette tips.

What’s most rewarding of your Co-op experience?
It’s the amount of work I’ve accomplished. At first I was intimated. I was afraid to come to work, and not go to school. It’s surprising how much I accomplished, and how much knowledge and confidence I gained. I’ve become more comfortable using Pub Med, a database for scientific research articles. Now I use it often for background research and have become very familiar with it.

It’s also great meeting new people. The PhD student I work for is very knowledgeable. It’s really good to work with someone like that. Everyone at work is really helpful. I’ve made a lot of new friends. I’m also gaining lab experience, as well as skills outside lab work. For example I have a presentation next week. When I’m done that, I’d be pretty proud because I’m not much of a public speaker. I’ve learned to manage and rise above stressful situations.

Has Co-op helped inform your career or academic goals?
I’m still undecided, but I have a better idea of what it’s like. I do like doing research. And I know that for my next Co-op I’d like to work in the industry, or, the private sector, to see what that’s like.

Would you recommend Co-op to other students?
Of course I would. It’s a great way to get paid work experience that is related to what you are studying. It makes it easier for you get jobs when you graduate. It’s good to meet new people. And it’s a nice change from school – I know we can all use that.

Posted on October 25, 2010