MBLcollageIn 2009, I took the nine-week neurobiology course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. I came into the course as a fourth year graduate student. Getting my Ph.D. was a fantastic experience, and I often referred to myself as the least bitter grad student in the room. That said, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue on in academic science after grad school. Other avenues were calling me. Taking the course at MBL was a test. Can I have fun doing science for 15 hours a day? The answer was an overwhelming absolutely yes.

I have returned to MBL every year since, to do some work or reunite with some of my favorite scientists in Boston and Woods Hole. This year I found myself reflecting on what made my experience at MBL so great, and why it can be difficult to recreate that joy outside of the magic land of horseshoe crabs, three eyed frogs and the squid giant axon.