av paypal button

pa eitc

Volunteer Spotlight

Bonnie Douglas

BonnieDouglasWhat made you want to go into this field?  

I am a 5th year PhD student in immunology at the University of Pennsylvania. My broad interest in biomedical science began in middle school during my first biology class, but my specific interest in immunology grew out of an internship with the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, MD. The immune system has the ability to both protect us from infections and harm us if it becomes dysregulated. I find the mechanisms controlling that balance between protection and harm fascinating. 

Through my time as a graduate student, I have also become passionate about teaching science as a way to share my enthusiasm and encourage others to either pursue science as a career and/or appreciate how science impacts daily life in the 21st Century.

What do you do during a typical day?  

As a senior PhD student, most of my days are spent in the laboratory performing experiments and analyzing data. Much of my work relies on animal models, so a lot of my time is spent working with mice and rats. I've also been blessed to have the opportunity to present my research at conferences around the world. Since starting my PhD, I have traveled to Greece and South Africa to give scientific talks!

What advice do you have for young students wanting to enter into the biomedical field?

Start looking for opportunities to get lab experience early, and never be afraid to ask questions. It's really easy to think you're too young to be qualified for a lab experience, or that you don't know enough to participate in scientific discussion. But generally I've found that scientists care more about your thought process and your enthusiasm than about your knowledge. It's better to jump in to an experience that you might not be 100% ready for and challenge yourself to succeed rather than to hold yourself back out of fear.

What are some of your favorite pastimes?

When I'm not in the lab, I enjoy spending time with my two pets: Lupin and Hank (pictured). I also love baking, photography, and casual video gaming (a recent favorite is Animal Crossing: New Horizons).

Why do you enjoy volunteering for PSBR?

Volunteering with PSBR gives me the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for science with others. It's so exciting to watch someone look through a microscope for the first time and realize there is another living, breathing organism on the other side of the lens. I also feel very strongly that everyone should have the opportunity to learn about and engage with science, and PSBR provides many hands-on learning opportunities to students who might not otherwise have access to those experiences. It's an honor to support those opportunities.