Jasmin Graham, College of CharlestonI work in Professor Gavin Naylor’s molecular evolution lab at the Hollings Marine Laboratory at Fort Johnson on James Island. I first met Professor Naylor at the School of Sciences and Mathematics’ research matchmaking day my first semester at the College. I was very interested in working with him, and I finally got the opportunity through the College’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program later that year. That summer, I began studying the evolutionary history of hammerhead sharks, which I’m continuing to investigate this year.

I’ve learned that the major difference between lab classes and doing real research is, sometimes in real life, you can do all the right steps, and it just doesn’t work. There is no answer key, and often the professor is just as baffled as you are.

My favorite part of the Naylor lab is the fact that the entire lab group is open to new people and new ideas. From the professor to the lab manager to the undergraduate students: There is an open dialogue and exchange of ideas, as well as a willingness to try new things. Everyone is there to learn, even Professor Naylor.

– Jasmin Graham is a double major in marine biology and Spanish.