Coming into SIMR, I had a lot of technical lab experience from my high school. I had run numerous gels and had micropipetted a countless number of times. However, no classroom can ever fully prepare you for conducting your own research. The first time I ever walked into a living, breathing laboratory, buzzing with postdocs and fellows, was at the CSSR building in the Stanford School of Medicine. In my head, I was able to name many familiar tools, but there was also a good amount of equipment I had never seen before. There were also so many procedures I had never heard of before, like spraying your gloves with ethanol before entering them into a fume hood. After a quick tour, I was quickly put to work to design my own research project and decide what I wanted to spend my summer studying. I spent hours reading research papers on Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, its underlying causes, and the molecular aspect of it all, amongst other things. “How would I be able to produce something productive from a couple days of reading published papers?” I thought. My mentor saw my distress and helped guide me in the right direction. I shadowed and helped him work on his research to get an idea on what I wanted to do. We talked about possible pursuits before I settled on something that interested me: The alignment of endothelial cells lining pulmonary arteries and how it relates to flow. I expanded on this by including how stem cell derived endothelial cells might differ from endothelial cells cultured from a human lung in order to further the study of the potential of stem cell derived endothelial cells to be used to model cultured endothelial cells. Throughout the last couple weeks, I’ve been exposed to so much new knowledge, and along with the help of my Principal Investigator and mentor, have been able to pursue my own research project. I’ve learned so many new techniques, procedures, and most importantly, how to think like a scientist.