By Andrew Choi

Am I crying or is my face uncontrollably sweating right now? I think I am doing both as I write about my unforgettable experiences over the course of the past 6 weeks and finalize my poster.

As I think back, I am very grateful for the takeaways of the research field, acquiring them through scientific journals, lab experiments with my mentor, and both formal and informal discourses. It seems impossible to describe all the episodes and occurrences during the program in this one blog post, but all I can say is that they were all unique and phenomenal in their own respective ways. As aforementioned in my previous posts, gaining new perspectives and insights and being acquainted with many of the techniques, such as stereology, immunocytochemistry, immunohistochemistry, my peers have utilized throughout their careers proved to me the great impact this program can make on many individuals of the younger generation. CIRM Spark not only taught me the ongoings behind the bench-to-bedside translational research process, but also morals, work ethics, and effective collaboration with my peers and mentors. My mentor, Gen, reiterated the importance of general ethics. In the process of making my own poster for the program, her words resonate even greater in me. Research, education, and other career paths are driven by proper ethics and will never continue to progress if not made the basic standard.

I am thankful for such amazing institutions: California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for enabling me to venture out into the research career field and network. Working alongside with my fellow 7 very brilliant friends, motivated me and made this journey very enjoyable. I am especially thankful my mentor, Gen, for taking the time to provide me with the best possible resources, even with her busy ongoing projects. She encouraged me to be the best that I am.

I believe, actually, I should say, I KNOW Cedars-Sinai’s CIRM Spark program does a SUPERB and astounding job of cultivating life-long learners and setting exceptional models for the younger generation. I am hoping that many others will partake in this remarkable educational program. I am overall very blessed to be part of a successful summer program. The end of this program does not mark the end of my passions, but sparks them to even greater heights.

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