The Adventures of Alana the Newbie Researcher

Timeline of my ROP experience

Stroke. Atherosclerosis. Carotid stenosis. MRI. Endarterectomy. To some people, these words are, well, just words. But for others, these few phrases could change the course of their lives. During my time in the Research Opportunity Program at the Department of Medical Imaging, I was able to learn all about carotid disease and the current status of carotid imaging modalities. As an added bonus, I did quite a bit of research on the impact that stenosis has on patient care and how new and exciting advances in medical imaging could affect it.

Over the course of four months, I went from being a huge research newbie to becoming an experienced research … trainee. I was introduced to the world of journal article writing, starting from doing elementary literary research all the way to drafting and writing a review article, which was completed entirely from the comfort of my beloved computer. With the help of Doctor Eli Lechtman and my ROP partner Helena Lan (if you haven’t seen her post on her experience you should check it out), we were able to put together 2 review articles that complement one another and will hopefully pose as a good foundation for future research.

Now, you must be thinking, “wow, this sounds like an extremely exciting summer; how could it possibly be better?” Well, my dear readers, it gets even better. One of the greatest things about being a part of this department is the community. The people here are all friendly, wonderful, and welcoming. From having an outing at Centre Island to letting us operate an uItrasound machine (thanks Modele!), I really felt like I was a part of “the gang.” What’s more, it was nice to have someone remember my name when I arrived in the morning, especially when I’m used to being my nameless self in the vast sea of students of our first year lectures (Convocation Hall, anyone?).

When I first sat down to write this post, I couldn’t decide what would be the best way to describe my time doing my ROP. And that’s when it hit me: it was an adventure! I may not have explored unknown lands or survived any near-death experiences, but there was not one day that went by where I wasn’t learning something new. Each day was a new experience, an opportunity to understand something I probably haven’t even heard of before. It still surprises me right now, as I’m writing this post, how much I have learned throughout this program, and the fact that I was able to experience something like this. I would have never thought I could write a review article and do the things I’ve done in only my first year of university. All in all, this was a great experience, and I encourage everyone to try out something like this!

Thanks for reading this, y’all! And if you just scrolled to the bottom of this post and thought “tl;dr,” you can still check out my infographic timeline (there’s pretty pictures)! Also I’d like to give a shoutout to my awesome Professor, Dr. Pascal Tyrrell (check out his latest post), as well as all the lovely members of the Medical Imaging department at U of T for making my ROP experience the way it turned out to be.

Remember to make every day an adventure,

Alana Man 🙂