The Intern Diaries: Derek Saxon

Derek SaxonDerek Saxon is a junior chemistry major from Iron Mountain, Michigan. He is conducting research this summer on biopolymers with Professor Dean Katahira of the Chemistry Department at Ripon College as part of his involvement with the McNair Scholars Program. He is one of four Ripon College students sharing their stories of research internships and jobs over the course of this summer.

The End of a Week – The Beginning of a Journey

With one week in the books, I come to a realization: I have a lot more reading to do. And when I say a lot, I don’t mean a couple articles and a book. I mean more than I even want to think about.

I finished reading a book, multiple excerpts and endless articles during the course of this week; yet, I feel as if I’ve only just begun the first page. There is so much more to learn before I can even begin testing hypotheses. I spend each morning pacing around a room on the third floor of Farr Hall (the science building) reading books, articles, etc. while thinking about the issue I am faced with. And I write it down, well, everywhere, if you can tell by this picture:

Derek Saxon's notes

Documenting everything of importance I read or think of is crucial to helping me 1) solve the problem and 2) prove my work is credible and my own.

My afternoons are currently being spent in the computer lab of the library, where the McNair Scholars Program has provided me with the opportunity to study and prepare for the GRE. During this time, I strive to improve my skills and strategies for doing well on the exam.

Midweek I was awarded a bit of a break when the other scholars on campus doing research and their mentors all gathered to share what they have started working on. Afterwards, we mingled and ate food prepared on the grill. These meetings will be happening periodically, which is going to be very helpful in terms of gaining outside perspectives.


To read more from Derek and our other summer bloggers, click HERE.

To learn more about the McNair Scholars Program at Ripon College, click HERE.

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