Volleying For Success

Sean Gibney/ July 31, 2019

Sean Gibney

Sean Gibney, LabXchange Content Intern

When I came to Harvard four years ago as an undergraduate, I knew I was interested in science and medicine, yet I had no idea the path those interests would lead me. During the fall of my first year, I found myself in Life Sciences 1a (LS 1a),  an introductory class led by Professor Lue and several others. Their integrated approach to life sciences to understand real-world problems altered my own perceptions and intrigued me. No longer was each science a series of facts to memorize, but rather a network of interconnected fields that built on each other into a more complete understanding of the world. Through the LS 1a course, I became passionate about science education, and I jumped at the opportunity to work at LabXchange during the summer of 2019.

Antibody Animation developed by Sean

After my first week in the office, it was already apparent that the entire team and I were united by the desire to improve access to and increase the quality of science education. Throughout the summer, while facing deadline after deadline, the pleasure and focus that each team member brought to every project pushed us forward to create even better content that exceeded our own expectations. Every detail was scrutinized, from the wording used in our explanations to the font size displayed on each page. Both unexpected and expected, many challenges arose throughout the process. When our platform’s software refused to recognize that I wanted single spacing instead of double spacing, I found myself on Codeacademy learning HTML for the first time.  After weeks spent designing a teaching animation, the app hosting my drawings started to crash…600 pictures later. Each challenge overcome, lesson designed, and asset uploaded to our platform were steps closer to launching in fall 2019 and to our goal of bettering science education.

The VolleyXchange Team

Some of our greatest challenges were faced and conquered not in the office, but out on the volleyball court. Each week, our LabXchange Volleyball team, VolleyXchange, fought valiantly in one of Harvard’s annual summer science volleyball leagues, the Rhino League. Despite a wide range of volleyball experience level on the team and never having played together before, we steadily improved each week. Weekly frustrations were brought to the volleyball court and left behind, and joy was derived from playing together and learning to be a team both inside and outside the office.

Because of the various and unique projects I worked on, I’m leaving my summer internship with many new skills and with even more excitement about the work that LabXchange is doing. The years of collaboration to come are ones that I am greatly looking forward to.

As it is for everything done at LabXchange, it was the excellent, uplifting teamwork (and spirited cheers and shooting on the court) that allowed us to improve quickly and accomplish our goals. Stay tuned as we work to revolutionize the field of science education for many years to come, and should you feel compelled, I hope you’ll collaborate with us in this incredible, team effort.