Ming Zhang

Rising Senior
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Research Site: CEREGE, Aix-en-Province, France

Highlights of program I had an amazing time studying the fate of nanoparticles in wastewater treatment plants at the CEREGE site in Aix-En-Provence. I learned that the research process is rarely a straight line to the finish, but rather a path filled with mistakes and detours. I came to appreciate this aspect of doing science through others’ enthusiasm despite setbacks, as well as through my own experience of making mistakes. I also enjoyed taking a small project from start to finish to contribute to the goals of a larger research group. The sense of community at the CEREGE was very strong; everyone shared all the lab spaces in the building, and each day entire research teams go to lunch together. My greatest lesson from working at the CEREGE was perhaps that it is possible to balance work and play, and to still get the most from both.

Career Impacts and Plans

Participating in this REU program made me realize that I want to pursue a career that combines environmental research and international travel. To this end, I won a Fulbright Scholarship to study air pollution in Beijing, China for fall 2013. Fall 2014 I will enter UC Berkeley's MS/PhD program in Environmental Engineering fall 2014. I hope that my work will not only help improve our environment, but also take me to experience new cultures and lifestyles. This REU experience made my dreams and career goals more concrete, and I will always be thankful for my summer at Duke and the CEREGE.