Raisa Tikhtman

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Rising Senior
Biochemistry and French
Transylvania University
CEINT Research Site: CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

The benefits from my summer as an intern at the CEREGE in Aix-en-Provence stem from the simultaneous scientific and cultural immersion reaped from performing research in a foreign country. Not only did I gain an improved understanding of the potential implications of the nanoparticle invasion of commercial products and their specific identities, but I also was provided the opportunity to expand my repertoire of conversational and scientific French vocabulary. My research project, focusing on the fate of cerium oxide nanoparticles as they interact and aggregate with clays in aquatic mesocosms, required a significant amount of independence and tolerance for trial-and-error. I felt truly integrated into the laboratory environment at the CEREGE and had opportunities to consult post-docs and graduate students, in addition to my two mentors, while refining and directing my project. This experience provided an intimate perspective on the patience and collaboration required of a career in research, as well as a detailed outlook on the massive field of nanotechnology and its applications. The orientation and seminar components of the program served to enlighten me on the relationship between research and environmental policy, and I am inspired to seek a career at the crossroads between science and its political implications.

Career Impacts and Plans

This summer (2013) I will be studying abroad in Madagascar through the School for International Training’s program, "Madagascar: Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Systems." My REU experience with CEINT initiated my interest in science as an informant for environmental and health policy, and my study abroad plans represent a continuation of this academic pursuit.

Graduate Plans

The CEINT program introduced me to the broad applications of nanotechnology, and one avenue I am heavily considering post-graduation 2014 is applying for graduate programs with a focus on biomedical applications of nanotechnology, especially in cancer therapies and drug delivery.