I quickly check the notification on my phone which reads: “Phase three vaccine trial in the US is expected to begin next week.” Stunned, I marvel at the prowess of genetic engineering which has made so many vital advancements possible.
Genetic engineering is, in many ways, one of the final frontiers of science and technology. And as illustrated to me by Dr. Van Vickle-Chavez over the two-week duration of “Explorations in Genetic Engineering,” it is a multifaceted world of endless possibilities. Hence, as I learned the roles that ethics, economics, ecology, computer science, laboratory research, and medicine play within genetic engineering, I was enthralled by the multidisciplinary nature of this field.
Just think of it: an organization that engineers plants to support those in resource-poor countries has the excellent opportunity to immerse itself in the politics of the region, study the impacts of the proposed crop on the ecology of the ecosystem, examine the plant’s effect on humans, debate ethical dilemmas, use computer programs to devise a viable solution, and be on the cutting edge of genetic engineering, all of which contribute towards a singular goal—the advancement of science and society.
The feeling of giddy excitement that washes over me as I witness the realtime development of vaccines and drugs that use technologies I had discovered throughout this course swells my intellectual curiosity like never before. And so, while I have been a keen observer of the frontlines of the most remarkable scientific projects in history, following each step of the research procedure with awe, it’s now my turn to live by the scientific method, progressing from a life of observation to one of scientific experimentation. With that mindset, I set off into the future, more eager and prepared than ever to tackle and solve the problems of healthcare genetics.
This essay is one of the winning submissions from our 2020 Student Reflection Essay contest.