Shanza - Peaks and Valleys

Hello fellow scientists, my name is Shanza Sami from Iowa City, Iowa. Today, we’ll be talking about the peaks and valleys of the process and my experience with the summer mentorship program. 

The best part about the scientific process so far has been learning all about the way the research and engineering process works and applying this to the development of my innovation, Pura Aerem. I have learned how to create a hypothesis for each stage, conduct research, test, and scientifically prove that a certain stage in my innovation would work. Throughout this process, I have had to try new things and deal with new experiences – reaching out to people I don’t know, trying a skill out of my comfort zone (I had to learn to solder a few days ago), and becoming comfortable with failure. I had to experience a plethora of successes and adversities, or those peaks and valleys, to get to the point that I’m currently at. I believe that facing the uncomfortable is more likely to help you meet success – and this process has perhaps been the most rewarding. 

The most challenging part of this would have to be communication. A great scientist should constantly communicate their findings with the scientific community. It is essential to always ask questions, consult with your peers or mentors, be inquisitive, and consider the insight of others. One key way I have been communicating so far is through my blog posts – sharing my ideas about the scientific process to show how I have progressed as a scientist. Communication would also be challenging in that coordinating details with external sources, to access materials or consult for a product, would be time-consuming and difficult to specify. 

The summer mentorship has been one of the biggest highlights of the summer. Dr. Patrick Zimmerman has been an amazing mentor to share my weekly progress with, consider questions with, consult on how to brainstorm solutions, and more. He has pushed me to think for myself and believe in my ideas, not be afraid of failure, and to be methodical and systematic with the engineering process. Not to delve into the cliches, but Dr. Zimmerman has also taught me about a multitude of life lessons – hard work, perseverance, and dedication. 

The 3M Young Scientist Challenge has been an enlightening, immersive experience that has taught me to embrace adversity, venture out of my comfort zone, effectively communicate, and more. I am incredibly grateful to have met and learned from so many individuals throughout this journey. Thank you for listening to my 5th blog post, covering the peaks and valleys of the process and my summer mentorship experience. This is Shanza Sami, signing off from Iowa City, Iowa.