Fulbright Canada research experience
Third-year biomedical sciences student Paige Mattoon was deciding what to do last summer when she saw an email from RIT Study Abroad inviting applications for a Fulbright Canada research opportunity. She’d always considered doing a study abroad program, but research abroad? Why not? She could get paid to travel and build her resume at the same time! She applied for the 12-week summer program and was delighted when she was accepted.
Paige spent the summer as a research intern at the Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec (IUCPQ) in Quebec City working with a masters-level student to identify the role of a subpopulation of neurons in the hypothalamus responsible for regulation of food intake and metabolism. Even walking into the experience as a beginner, Paige felt well-prepared for this position from the lab work she had been required to complete during her studies at RIT. Throughout the summer, she learned complex lab techniques, improved her critical thinking, and gained confidence in the lab. Experiences during this time helped Paige to develop her independence and become resilient to change.
Is a research experience abroad all work and no play? Hardly! The language barrier was at first intimidating, but Paige found a CrossFit gym, which allowed her to follow an exercise program that she’s passionate about back home. Meeting new people there helped her feel connected to the community and gave her an opportunity to make friends outside of the lab and practice her language skills. She formed connections with other interns and students within the lab and before she knew it she had hiking buddies and was able to go out and explore! She even had a chance to fly to Calgary in the Canadian province of Alberta with one of her lab-mates and then onward to Banff National Park on the western border of Alberta, checking off an item on her bucket list!