MDI Biological Laboratory

Here’s Why Zoe Pursued a Summer Fellowship at MDIBL

  • June 29, 2022

About ten years ago, I visited Mount Desert Island for the first time. I was entranced by the space: from the way fog tiptoed over the water to the thin-trunked, tree-lined walking paths. At Mount Desert Island, I felt at home. I was surrounded by mountains and ocean like my mom’s home country, Trinidad, but at a cooler temperature for me. Around the time of my first visit, I realized what learning meant to me and began the journey that has led me to MDI Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) today.

My journey was a mix of time spent in the classroom, on trails, and with my face pressed close to a desk. I found the process of learning exhilarating and would frequently lose myself in stories and science. The books that piled around my bed helped me find that feeling of home that I got on Mount Desert Island. Losing myself in books on biology, fantasy, and romance dropped me into states of content and peace. However, the books could only satiate me for so long before I was longing again to feel the serenity of this place.

During my first two years at Rutgers, I discovered a love for research and heard about the REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program from a mentor. From there, I looked up Maine-based REUs and found MDIBL. I immediately went to my parents and told them about the program; they got excited too. I was fascinated by the research happening at MDIBL because I really want to work with animal models and learn more about aging – a concept that has enthralled me since high school. And being in my favorite place was the best bonus I could ask for.

Now, I have been here for a few weeks. I haven’t lost that feeling of home that I had a decade ago; if anything, it’s been amplified. I can’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to explore what I am passionate about in this beautiful place. I’m so excited to be able here for the summer, learning from talented researchers, expanding my knowledge and experiencing the thrill of real-world research and the iconic beauty of Mount Desert Island. This is the next stage in my journey and I’m so grateful it’s happening.

Zoe Reich is Summer Fellow participating in the 10-week REU program, working in the Rollins Lab. She will be sharing her journey with us through a series of blog posts written throughout her time at MDIBL.