This past weekends excursion to St. Louis was absolutely incredible! I was able to build stronger relationships with the other fellows as well as the administrative team of the program. Being able to communicate and interact outside of the heavily structured academic interactions at NIU was very rewarding and enjoyable. I was most excited to meet the McKearns at long last, but I also felt slightly nervous. Once we were finally able to meet them, all of my anxiety melted away because they are the most friendly and welcoming people. Hearing about their lives and experiences was by far the highlight of the weekend. They have inspired me to give back to the NIU community in any way I can, whether it be through volunteering or joining new clubs and programs. I feel that the McKearn Program has prepared me well for all of the excursions this weekend. I was able to discuss my research confidently and at length with anyone who wanted to know more about it. This program has provided me with the confidence and leadership abilities to feel comfortable outside my comfort zone through excursions such as those provided this weekend.The excursions that were planned during our trip were a lot of fun and very informational. Although I am not studying the sciences, all of the information presented at the Danforth Science Center and the BioGenerator was interesting and understandable. As one last treat, we were all able to enjoy a Cardinals game together before going home. Overall, this weekend would not have been possible without the hard work of many exceptional people. I would like to personally thank the McKearns, Provost Dr. Freeman, Vice Provost Dr. Birberick, Joe Matty, and Jason Goode for making this St. Louis trip such a memorable experience!