We sat down with Coop Research Coordinator Tobe Chima to find out more about her take on the coop position, the CORE Lab, and life in general.

What interested you about the CORE Lab coop position? 
I was really interested in being super involved in an academic research lab. This position offers a lot of responsibility for a co-op. You’re second in command, so you really get to see the ins and outs of the workings of a lab. I wanted to be involved with a range of cognitive studies, facilitate conversations between a variety of personalities, and possibly pursue my own research project. This position offered the opportunity to do so.

Say a bit about your background and interests. 
I’m a Behavioural Neuroscience major. My research interests include social categorization, neurodegenerative diseases, human exceptionalism, and racial disparities in healthcare. Outside of research, I’m super passionate about women in entrepreneurship, travel, and music.

What have you found most interesting/rewarding about the position? 
The ability to take initiative on ideas that I have thought about for so long. It’s really scary to pursue something that you’ve been silently sitting on. It’s also super rewarding to see the transformation in the RAs. Everyone leaves the lab as a changed person, it’s pretty cool to be a facet of that community that’s shaped their Northeastern experience.

What have you found most challenging about the position? 
Our lab personnel mostly consists of students in some capacity, so naturally, the pace is a little slower than what I’m used to. Being able to adjust to this new pace, and also being able to tolerate the ambiguity of this environment was something that took me a while to get used to. It’s tricky to navigate a role that relies so heavily on others needs and wants, while they also have a lot going on. Sounds crazy, I know!

What have you found most surprising about the position? 
It’s a super supportive environment. Everyone’s voice goes into making a large decision that effects the lab. It’s made me more thoughtful and intentional when making decisions, because the conversations you have actively engage you with CORE Lab community.

Any advice for future coops?
Don’t be afraid to be vocal. Advocate for yourself and take advantage of every situation that you’re in. You never know where it might lead you. This role can seem really broad in overview, but it takes a special someone to cover all their bases and really make sure that they leave the CORE Lab with something that sets them apart from the general crowd. There are very few co-op positions that allow for you to be flexible, so take advantage of it! I was able to begin pursuing my own individual research project, based on a question that originally popped into my head during a lab meeting. I facilitate meetings with doc students and faculty members across Northeastern, I have a mentor in a boss, and a supportive community around me. All these facets are what make a co-op memorable, but they weren’t born out of inaction!