Summer of Hands-On Research Bridget Osas ’25 is researching behavioral impacts on the development of metabolic syndromes like obesity.
“I feel like these first two weeks have definitely made me realize that I would like to dive into a career path that is more hands-on. I love the research we are doing and am very intrigued to learn more.”
~Bridget Osas ’25
Name: Bridget Osas
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Major: Strategic Communications Major
Minor: Biology, Pre-Med Track
Q: What factors led you to choose W&L?
What ultimately made me choose W&L was the financial aspect of it, although study abroad really intrigued me as well. I was excited by the Spring Term Abroad option, which I was able to take advantage of this year through the Berlin course. It was a great experience, and I’m very glad W&L provides this opportunity for students. I encourage students to do it at least once. I also attended an alumni event back in my hometown where they emphasized the close-knit community of W&L. This was another reason why I chose W&L.
Q: Why did you choose your course of study?
I chose the strategic communications major because I’ve always been interested in marketing and public relations, and I also have the creative part of me that is interested in writing, graphic design and videography. This major allows me to tap into that creative aspect of myself and implement it towards my PR-related interests. Although my current goal is to go to medical school, I want to have another area of study that I am also interested in just in case my plans change in the future. I intend to minor in biology because I am very interested in the biological sciences and initially wanted to major in it.
Q: How did you find out about this opportunity? Did anyone at W&L help?
I heard about this research opportunity during my first advisor meeting with Associate Professor of Biology Gregg Whitworth, where he briefly mentioned the Summer Research Scholars Program. He was in charge of organizing the seminar that talks about all the different types of research that happen on campus. I attended the seminar, and that is where I found out about Dr. Helen I’Anson’s research and afterwards applied.
Q: What kind of work are you doing?
I am currently doing biology-focused research in Dr. I’Anson’s lab. Our research is focused on snacking and how it affects the development of metabolic syndromes like obesity. We are specifically focusing on snacking during childhood into adulthood and what that timeline appears to be in regards to developing symptoms associated with metabolic syndromes. This summer, we are currently sectioning and analyzing samples of the gastrointestinal tract and the abdominal fat pads of our rats, which we used to have in the lab years before I came to W&L, in order to see if there are any signs of inflammation occurring in those organs.
Q: What do you like most about it, and what has been most challenging so far?
I really like the hands-on portion of the research, like whenever we are working on the paraffin embedding protocol on the samples. I’m really looking forward to when we start sectioning the samples, but I am also nervous about that just because there is possibility for error and for it to not run smoothly. What’s been really challenging is just the amount of reading we have had to do, although I don’t mind learning more about our topic.
Q: How do you think your current summer experience – and others you’ve had in the past – will impact your future career path?
I feel like these first two weeks have definitely made me realize that I would like to dive into a career path that is more hands-on. I love the research we are doing and am very intrigued to learn more. I look forward to our findings, but I do enjoy movement and being physically stimulated. For that, I am still very sure that I will continue down the medical path but I feel as if my focus will be more in a clinical setting than a lab setting. This will provide the mental stimulation aspect that I like about this research while still being socially and physically stimulated.
Q: Outside of your internship, what have you enjoyed the most about living and working in Rockbridge County this summer?
I’ve been enjoying spending time with my friends that are on campus because I was actually abroad for two months right before coming to Lexington in early June, so I have missed being around friends. I’ve also been enjoying spending time outdoors, either just sitting outside and reading/drawing or by going on walks or hikes. I’m also going to start volunteering at the hospice in Lexington, so I’m looking forward to that.
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