Its almost thanksgiving, which means I’m taking time to pause and appreciate everything that I’m grateful for. Hopkins has given me life-long friends, a community, amazing opportunities, and a home. But after finishing my very last biochemistry lab last Monday, I would like to openly thank the Undergraduate Teaching Labs. The UTL, as it is commonly called, was completed just in time for the class of 2017. My freshman year I had chemistry lab on the top floor of the UTL. While a four-hour lab bright and early every Friday may sound like a college kid’s nightmare, the beauty and modernity of the lab made it difficult to complain.

IMG_4464

The building was constructed as an extension of Mudd Hall. Mudd is one of the many classic red brick buildings on campus. It houses the biology department and various lecture halls. The UTL was built right next to Mudd. While half the building is brick, the back wall is four stories of complete glass.

This year, I took biochemistry lab in the UTL. My partner and I purposefully chose the lab bench nearest the full glass window. Sunlight pours in and keeps us sane while we try to finish four-hour lab protocols.

Joe, my lab partner!

Joe, my lab partner!

In addition, the equipment in the new labs is amazingly advanced for undergraduate students. We each get our own set of micropipettes, a personal spectrophotometer, and a set of endless glass test tubes.IMG_1542

My freshman year of intersession, I took a lab called Foreign Gene Expression Lab. I spent everyday in the UTL, but I didn’t mind.

First Gel: a monumental moment in any scientist's life

First Gel: a monumental moment in any scientist’s life

Right now I’m sitting at my desk at my research lab at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. There are zero windows. Thank you, Hopkins, for the Undergraduate Teaching Labs.