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The team felt it was useful to mention some reactions to the overall experience of iGEM at CSW. Here they are:

Arguably the single most crucial factor in determining the success of an iGem project, perhaps even more so than the idea itself, is how well the team works as a group. We have certainly had our ups and downs with that aspect of the iGem process. Communication and participation have turned out to be the keys to progress for us. When we met or were in contact and everyone was on the same page, we got work done. On the other hand, when we had limited communication and especially participation, we got little to no work done. Our idea remained mostly unchanged from the beginning, so the only factor controlling our progress towards our goal was teamwork. This day and night difference showed us how effective good teamwork can be.

Teamwork and a good project idea are both necessary for success in iGem, but both are useless without guidance from an advisor. The job of the advisor is to guide us through the iGem process from a position of experience while still allowing us to discover and do things for ourselves. One of the most important things we learned about working with our advisor is that although it was his job to guide us, we had to communicate with him to make sure everyone knew what was going on and what was being done. He was overseeing the project’s completion and we had to let him know that we were completing parts of the project, not just expecting him to read our minds.

In addition to our advisor, we benefited greatly from the help of external advisors. These were actual professionals working currently in the field of biology. The expertise, facilities, and recourses that our external advisors brought to the table were invaluable. External advisors were also very helpful in troubleshooting the problems that arose during the process due to their high level of expertise.
The iGem competition is a very effective teaching tool for several aspects of scientific careers. It taught us about applying for fundraising, about presenting, and about the high level of independence and interdependence in lab work. It was an extremely valuable experience especially for those of us going into lab science as a profession.