Materials Science and Engineering
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
CEINT Research Site: Bernhardt Lab- Duke University
As a materials engineer working in biology and ecology lab, I realized that even though my academic background was different from that of most of the researchers, I still enjoyed and had the opportunity to develop and grow in professional and personal ways. My work in a biology and ecology laboratory at Duke University was the first time I was able to participate in research that concentrated on impacts instead of design. This provided me with a deeper appreciation for the consequences of decisions made at the design phase of a project. As a materials science and engineering student most of the projects that I worked on were based either in fundamental science, material processing, and material design. Working in a biology lab, gave me a healthy mixture of working in laboratory and field environments. I also enjoyed spending time walking through the Duke Campus and Durham. Walking to work through the Duke Gardens, learning rock climbing, and hiking trails were only some of the extra activities I had the opportunity to enjoy during my brief stay in Durham. One summer was simply not enough time, so I will be back!
The experience I got from participating in the CEINT REU have made me question and rethink what I wish to study in graduate school. Before the program I had imagined working as a chemist and materials engineer designing new chemicals and materials. Now I am considering pursuing a graduate degree in biology or ecology. Currently, I am employed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington DC, and I hope to continue working there because of the interdisciplinary nature of all the projects both in the lab and field work.