Friday was Kristen Rubenstein‘s last day in the lab. She has been working full-time since last August as a post-baccalaureate researcher during her gap year before medical school.

Back in January 2017 when I was writing the Jeffress grant, I approached Kristen, who was graduating in May and still deciding what to do in her gap year, to see if she would be interested in staying on as a post-bac. It was an interesting conversation because #1 I was just submitting the grant and there was no guarantee of funding for the position and #2 it was on a completely different project then what she had been working on jointly with Jonathan Dattelbaum and me for the previous year. Well, long story short, the funding came through (yay!) and Kristen agreed to join the Pollock lab for a year (double yay!). What a year it has been! Kristen jumped head first into protein production, analysis of difficult data, and designing new assays. I only needed to say “Hey Kristen, I was thinking about doing this… can you figure out how to do and implement it?” and she was off completing the task. She wrapped up a project that will hopefully (fingers crossed!) be accepted for publication soon, she started another project that Courtney and Cassidy will finish this fall, and she tried a lot of new techniques. I learned a lot from her and I hope she learned some things from me.

Having a post-doc in the lab is WONDERFUL — productive, encouraging, helpful. But having Kristen as a post-doc in the lab was more than wonderful. Her enthusiasm, positive attitude, and willingness to learn coupled with her productivity was quite amazing.

Kristen– I wish you all the best at MCV as you start the next step in your education and career. I don’t think I will ever be able to express my gratitude for your service to the science and your friendship over the past year. Thank you for setting the bar so high for all my post-bacs (provided there is funding) in the future. You are going to be a great doctor. I wish you all the best!