Marika Nell

Rising Senior
Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
CEINT Research Site: Hsu-Kim Lab, Duke University

Before I participated in the CEINT REU, I knew very little about nanotechnology. So, for me, the main highlight of the REU program was the chance to learn about nanotechnology and get hands-on experience with ongoing research. Between seminars, lab tours, and the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of students, scholars, faculty and staff, the program exposed me to the many facets of current nanotechnology research and I developed a comprehensive knowledge of the field. Through my day-to-day work, I gained valuable experience with laboratory equipment and improved my laboratory habits and skills.

In addition, getting to know the people at CEINT and Duke University was another major highlight of the program. Everyone I encountered in my time at the program was friendly and helpful. In lab, the professor, postdoctoral scientists, and graduate students that I worked with were extremely supportive and encouraged me to maintain a good work-life balance throughout the course of the summer. Between the cutting edge research, plentiful learning opportunities, and the talented and friendly people, the CEINT REU was the perfect setting for expanding my knowledge of nanotechnology and research.

Career Impacts and Plans

Overall, this research experience reaffirmed my desire to pursue my PhD. I am currently applying to graduate programs in Civil & Environmental Engineering and will hopefully pursue research in using nanotechnology for environmental remediation in the future. Experiencing the culture of a Civil & Environmental Engineering that is different from the one at my home institution has helped me figure out what I am looking for in prospective graduate schools. Since I enjoyed the culture at my CEINT REU site, I am considering applying to Duke University.

Hearing about the work, career paths, and backgrounds of the diverse group of people at CEINT has been extremely helpful in figuring out my post-graduation and career plans. Ultimately, I would like to stay in academia and work on developing viable remediation technologies for emerging contaminants.