Careers and Training

2003 NEI Summer Student Experiences

Enjoli Cooke and Dr. Peggy Zelenka

This summer I studied under the direction of Dr. Peggy Zelenka at the National Eye Institute. When I began, I did not know what to expect form the experience. I did not know whether I was setting myself up for intellectual devastation or for the beginning of a serious career in science. Despite my extreme fear, I went into the laboratory and exerted my most concerted effort.

My first three weeks were rather difficult, but by the end of the summer I was able to get results. These results were not easily obtained. I learned that science is even more meticulous than I realized. There were countless technical difficulties.

I always assumed that scientists merely had to possess an extraordinary intellect. I learned that patience and perseverance seem to be the key elements to being a successful scientist. I worked on one experiment for almost three months. Maintaining my patience and perseverance was the most difficult element of my summer.

Enjoli Cooke
Completed her junior year at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD

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