October 29, 2019
As a participant in pilot two of The Arch at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Grayson Gerlich ’20, a biomedical engineering major with an imaging and instrumentation concentration, secured a spring semester away research internship at the Center for Structural Biochemistry (CBS) in Montpellier, France.
CBS was created in 1992, with an initial focus on X-ray crystallography, NMR, and bioinformatics. CBS has since expanded its expertise to include the field of electron microscopy and biophysics (atomic force microscopy, advanced fluorescence microscopy, and nanomanipulation).
Through Gerlich’s research experience and adviser at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he was able to secure his semester away opportunity at CBS. When asked what advice he would give to students looking for an away experience, Gerlich said, “Network, network, network! Most importantly, don’t be afraid of rejection. One of the best ways for students to make a place for themselves at a company is by going above and beyond just applying.” He also found the Office of International Programs to be an invaluable asset for traveling and working in a foreign country.
Throughout his research internship, Gerlich was able to apply his imaging knowledge from his major to perform cutting-edge experiments with his team. “At the risk of sounding cliché, my spring away opportunity was the most influential moment in my life so far,” said Gerlich.
In addition to gaining work-related experience that aligns with his major, Gerlich also learned how to navigate and adapt to new surroundings abroad. “All of the challenges I faced taught me to be resilient, flexible, and most importantly, unfailingly easy-going. After returning to Rensselaer for my senior year, I realized that this growth transferred back to the United States. I feel better equipped to work, manage my time, and indulge my hobbies.”
Now in his senior year, Gerlich continues to enjoy the diverse selection of activities that Rensselaer has to offer. “Any day of the week, at nearly any time of the day, I can attend an event that will teach me something completely new or deepen my knowledge of a subject that I’m quite familiar with.”
After graduation, Gerlich plans on pursuing his Ph.D. in quantitative biosciences and engineering.