Research Experience for Undergraduates | 2012 REU Fellows

Highlights of the Program

Andrew Drum

Rising Senior
Biological Engineering
University of Missouri, Columbia (Mizzou)
CEINT Research Site: DiGuilio Lab, Duke University

Participating in the CEINT REU at Duke University this summer taught me a great deal not only about nanotechnologies, but also about the general academic research process. Working as individuals on a collaborative team was an effective way of learning about different nano-technology uses and properties. Our weekly CEINT interactions motivated me to further my research. Working in the lab with graduate students also expedited adaptation to lab life. The CEINT REU gave me motivation and direction heading into my senior year at Mizzou. I made friends from colleges across the US, and will stay connected with them for years.

Career Impacts and Plans

This summer (2013) I will be doing an internship for Yadkin Riverkeeper in Winston Salem, NC. My CEINT background definitely helped me secure the spot for an environmental project.

Graduate School Plans

I learned about the MEM program at Duke during the REU program, applied and was accepted and will attend fall (2013). I think this may be one of the more impactful decisions I have made.

Dawn Smith

Rising Senior
Purdue University
CEINT Research Site: Gregory Lab, Carnegie Mellon University

During my internship experience, I had the opportunity to work with and learn from talented researchers, mentors and refine my laboratory skills. I met and interacted with talented REU students from many different backgrounds and programs. Each of us benefited from sharing our research progress at the end of the summer. Not only did we learn about the different areas of nanotechnology development and risk assessment, but we were also able to connect our different majors through research projects that incorporated multiple disciplines. I also enjoyed the weekly meetings at my research site where graduate students presented their research. It was fascinating to hear about current research involved with nanotechnology and its transport in the environment. As I worked on my project, I appreciated my mentors’ encouragement to challenge myself and put forth my best effort. This experience made me more conscious of planning experiments in advance in order to work with both schedules of myself and my mentee's. Overall, my research experience was very beneficial. I enjoyed working with my mentors and fellow REU students, and appreciated the organization and support from everyone involved with CEINT and Go Research!

Career Impacts and Plans

The CEINT program...

Annastassia Gallo

Rising Senior
Arcadia University
CEINT Research Site: Tilton Lab, Carnegie Mellon University

CEINT brought together many disciplines of nanotechnology, from fields I had been exposed to and others I had not. It was an incredible learning opportunity-not only to see how these fields of science work together on environmental issues, but also be a part of the ongoing research. One of the greatest experiences that I had was that I worked independently on a project, yet was part of a group at CMU because it gave me the sense of the graduate school environment.

Career Impacts and Plans

CEINT helped me realize that research is what I plan to do in the next step in my career. This REU experience helped me obtain an internship at the USDA Agricultural Research Service for Spring 2013.

Graduate School Plans

I am attending Temple University for Inorganic Chemistry and beginning my research there in the summer of 2013.

Tejas Raje

Rising Senior
Engineering & Physics
CEINT Research Site: Vikesland Lab, Virginia Tech

My time at CEINT gave me the opportunity to perform scientific research and to obtain new experiences. I enjoyed my time at Duke and Virginia Tech, when I was able to perform interesting research in nanotechnology and got the opportunity to learn about the many different types of research being performed in this field and to work with graduate students and professors who were very helpful in teaching me about the subject and helping show me how to perform my research project.

Career Impacts and Plans

Ultimately I decided that I did not want to pursue science in the future, but the experiences I gained in the CEINT REU program will definitely help me wherever I go.

Carmen Kuan

Rising Senior
Environmental Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
CEINT Research Site: Hinton Lab, Duke University

The CEINT REU program was a valuable experience because I was able to gain research skills in nanoscience as well as add the experience to my resume for my pursuits in grad school and career opportunities. I met a lot of great people with the same passion for science and research as I do, which made getting along much easier since we were able to discuss and help each other in our research projects. My post-doc mentor in the Hinton lab was very helpful throughout the internship and gave me a lot of good advice about graduate school and finishing up my last year in college. Dr. Kelly, the CEINT program director, is very committed to the program and will help the interns out in any way they need. The orientation at the beginning of the internship helped me to get to know my fellow interns and settle into Durham, NC for the summer. Overall, the CEINT REU program is a quality research and personal experience.

Career Impacts and Plans

The CEINT REU has provided me with additional research experience that has helped to ready my resume for applications to graduate school or jobs in the research industry and also motivated me to pursue graduate studies within a few years after I graduate. Graduate school plans: I intend to study the...

David R. Cutting

Rising Junior
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Tulane University
CEINT Research Site: Bernhardt Lab, Duke University

One of the most exciting aspects of the CEINT REU program was the interdisciplinary collaboration inherent in nearly all of CEINT’s projects. As a Chemical Engineering student, a Biology lab felt unusual to say the least. By the end of the program I had learned a new skillset and felt comfortable in my setting. Getting to collaborate with all of CEINT’s departments really proved how diversity in background promotes and enhances the scholarly research process. CEINT taught me that no department has boundaries. I was able to network with friends and colleagues around the country and around the world and forge many lasting relationships.

Career Impacts and Plans

Confirmed that research was the correct path for me! I plan to transition to a PhD program in Chemical Engineering with a nanomaterials focus.

Raisa Tikhtman

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...

Sydney Stewart

Rising Senior
Chemical Engineering
Montana State University   
CEINT Research Site: Weisner Lab, Duke University

Over the summer I enjoyed working with the graduate students and faculty from Duke University. I feel more connected to the field of nanoscience, particularly the applications of nanotechnology and environmental impacts of nanoparticles. I learned a lot about the science of transport of contaminants in the environment just through presentations, trips, and conversations with other REU students. I enjoyed learning more about graduate school in general through working with a graduate student mentor. Overall, I feel I learned a lot about nanoscience and made valuable connections with graduate students, professors, and other undergraduate students.

Career Impacts and Plans

In this REU I made useful connections, learned how to better function in a lab, and how to think more like a scientist. I hope to volunteer short term with Engineers Without Borders, then work for 1-2 years as an environmental engineer. After learning more about the field, I'd like to go to graduate school for either a master's or PhD in environmental engineering with a focus on sustainable engineering for developing communities.

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...

Orion Pearce

Rising Senior
Beloit College
CEINT Research Site: Liu Lab, Duke University

CEINT was my first chance to become involved in a serious research endeavor, and served as a great springboard into chemical research. While working in Dr. Liu's lab I gained valuable training, getting to synthesize nanocrystals, use aqua regia, and work in Duke's excellent SMIF facility with the TEM. It was highly gratifying to obtain results after having studied and worked for weeks to get a specific crystalline morphology.

CEINT also was a great opportunity to make friends and contacts who had similar interests. From cookouts prepared by the interns to the weekly lab meetings with my research group, CEINT was full of great opportunities to meet fellow researchers.

Career Impacts and Plans

The people I met at Duke helped me get into a graduate school and provided valuable advice on my career as a researcher. I highly recommend the program to anyone interested in learning more about nanochemistry and starting a serious research career. Graduate school plans: Begin graduate school fall 2013-Chemistry Department, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Alex Simon

Rising Senior
Virginia Tech
CEINT Research Site: Meyer Lab, Duke University
Projects Title: Investigating  Nanoparticle Toxicity using Caenorhabditis elegans

Participating in the CEINT REU provided me with an opportunity to not only further my experience conducting nanoparticle research but to also get a new perspective on the potential implications of nanotechnology.  I enjoyed meeting new people and listening to them discuss how they progressed with their own research helped me to formulate my own research goals more appropriately- an experience which will surely help me in the future.  The laboratory research and presentation experience provided through CEINT will certainly help me as I adjust to graduate research in my future.  I was glad to meet fellow undergraduates as well as graduates and professors, get a feel for a university I was interested in attending for graduate school, and gain more experience working in a field I love.

Career Impacts and Plans

This REU encouraged me further to pursue nanotechnology as a particular interest for future research in grad school.  Having this internship probably contributed to my being awarded the Ryan Fellowship for exploration in nanoscience at Northwestern, the university which I am attending for graduate school.  This summer I will begin work at Northwestern early and hope to...