From Lab to Market: How a Fulbright Enrichment Seminar Prepared Me for My Career
Before graduating this year, I was able to attend my first Fulbright Enrichment Seminar. Being able to attend this seminar as the first Fulbright student from my university was such a joyous experience. I had the chance to finally meet new Egyptian friends face-to-face after keeping in touch virtually for almost a year due to COVID-19. Meeting new people during my Fulbright Program is a bittersweet experience; it’s wonderful to learn about others in a new environment, but saying goodbye is always difficult.
Getting ready to travel to a new state for the seminar felt like I was embarking on a new adventure. I found myself riding the subway for the first time since arriving in the United States, which was a little nerve-racking at first, but I was still excited to try something new. When I arrived in Boston, I was delighted to catch up with four Egyptian Fulbrighters and continue to deepen our friendships. The connections I’ve built with other Fulbrighters are by far the richest part of my experience. I also had the chance to meet other Fulbrighters from the MENA region, including students from the West Bank and Tunisia. Even though we only spoke to each other for a short amount of time, we were able to bond quickly and formed a small group to hang out in during the entire event.
I always dreamt of someday becoming a student at Harvard University. During my travels, I had the chance to visit the campus with a few of my wonderful friends. Although I am unsure if I will ever have the chance to study there in the future, being able to see the campus in person was a wonderful experience.
I can confidently say that the Enrichment Seminar completely lived up to its name. Attending the seminar helped me learn a process called “From Lab to Market,” which signifies gathering your research and forming it into a business plan in order to present it as a practical application for a relevant company or clinical practice. This is an important philosophy that has influenced my career and education so far. There were so many ideas and discussion topics that I realized I needed to revise and nurture before crafting them into an effective plan. I never quite knew how to put a plan together until I attended this seminar. Going to this seminar helped me determine what other aspects of my work I need to develop in order to achieve my goal of owning my own rehabilitation practice one day.
At the end of seminar, we were divided into 12 groups that each represented a different company. Our task at hand was to pitch ideas to fund potential projects. It was a great experience for me to learn how to conduct myself in a business environment and listen to my colleagues’ different perspectives. It was so much fun to see diverse ways of presenting an idea and how each presentation reflected the personality and goals of the presenter.
There was one element that stuck with me throughout the entire seminar, which was a picture from social media that flashed onto a screen showing former Fulbrighters holding a Fulbright banner. I am so happy and grateful to say that I am just like the Fulbrighters from that photo. Participating in the seminar was one of the highlights of my year and I am so thankful that I had the chance to be a part of it.
Pretty is a 2021 Fulbrighter from Egypt. She is studying Rehabilitation Science at Concordia University in Wisconsin.