Brandon Whitecotton



NAME: Brandon Whitecotton

CLASS: Senior
MAJOR: Biological Sciences

What is your research?
Riboswitches have been known to target molecules for antibiotics. I am trying to learn about the confrontational changes that specific riboswitches undergo in order to produce protein, so I can manipulate them to produce or not produce under different circumstances.

What do you enjoy most about research?
I enjoy the people that I work with. My research lab is like a small-knit community. While we all come from different backgrounds, we all have similar goals. It is enjoyable to spend time with people that are educated on the same topics, are learning at the same level, and share a passion for science. It’s an intellectual, yet an energetic environment. We have fun while we learn.

What are the benefits of undergraduate research?
Research is a great resume builder and it really makes you stand out as a student. It shows that you are dedicated and willing to learn outside of the classroom.

How has your research experience impacted your overall college experience?
Research has impacted my college experience greatly. I started the second semester of my sophomore year, but I wish that I had started sooner. My knowledge is expanding beyond the classroom, and I have also had opportunities to develop my personal skills through research as well. For example, I participated in the Undergraduate Research Symposium where I was able to work on my presentation skills. I actually received an honorable mention award for the work we are doing.

How have you grown or developed as a result of undergraduate research?
I have grown as a student and as a professional. I have learned how to talk as a professional, how to be a more-well rounded student, and a more well-rounded person.

What was one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a researcher and how did you overcome it?
From this experience I found that no matter what level of research you are doing, it’s more than studying and taking a test. You have to think about the big picture. You have to not only think about the present, but also think about the past and how you are going to change things. That is a challenge, but a good challenge. By spending 6-9 dedicated hours in the lab per week, and enjoying what I was doing, I was able to find the bigger picture, and explain this to many people at varying educational levels.