Research Experience for Undergraduates | 2013 REU Fellows

Highlights of the Program

Alice Wang

Rising Junior
Chemical/Environmental Engineering
University of Southern California
CEINT Research Site: Marr Lab, Virginia Tech University

The atmosphere of the CEINT REU program was an excellent learning environment for me to grow as a researcher. I was fortunate to work with brilliant mentors at Virginia Tech, each of whom were supportive and knowledgeable. I enjoyed exploring interdisciplinary projects amongst my research team where I became acquainted with a variety of nanotechnology issues in our air. This exposure sprouted my desire to learn more, granting me independent research on the side from my faculty mentor. Taking initiative to design the project from start to finish, I was able to challenge myself and sharpen my creativity, patience, and persistence. This unique opportunity, along with my outdoor expeditions with new friends, made the entire program valuable and memorable to me. The skills that I have acquired during those ten weeks will transport and carry with me into my future career.

Career Impact and Plans

The multiple CEINT faculty research presentations and EPA tour reaffirmed my passion towards resolving environmental pollution and toxicity issues in our society. My two research projects, one applicable to developed countries and the other to those developing, inspired me to think critically about combating environmental implications...

Eleanor Spielman-Sun

Oberlin College
CEINT Research Site: Lowry Lab, Carnegie Mellon University

Being a student from a small liberal arts college, the CEINT REU program at Carnegie Mellon gave me an opportunity to work at a large, research-based university. It was great to be able to interact with a diverse lab group where everyone had a variety of backgrounds and strengths. The experience definitely reinforced my plans to attend graduate school.

Career Impacts and Plans

CEINT has had a significant impact on my field of interest. Though I've always been interested in environmental science, after my summer at Carnegie Mellon I've decided to apply to environmental engineering programs for graduate school.

Michelle Laura Zeliph

Rising Senior
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
CEINT Research Site: Bernhardt Lab, Duke University

Participating in the CEINT REU program this summer taught me not only about the environmental implications of nanotechnology, but also about the challenges and rewards of collaborative research. This summer I got to work alongside several researchers with a variety of expertise and learned a great deal from each of them. I also had the opportunity to learn about several other research projects going on at CEINT through the other interns in the program. Living at Duke for the summer with the other interns allowed me to not only meet individuals from colleges across the country, but form lasting friendships and professional networks. I know that this experience has certainly opened doors for me and I am looking forward to the future opportunities this program may allow me to pursue.

Career Impacts and Plans

Participating in the CEINT REU program this summer strengthened my passion for research and influenced my decision to apply to graduate school. I am currently applying to environmental microbiology programs and hope to begin my doctoral studies in Fall 2014.

Matt Sweeney

Rising Sophomore
Chemical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
CEINT Research Site: Wiesner Lab, Duke University

CEINT gave me my first opportunity to perform research. The experience allowed me to discover what researching as an engineer entails. Discovering the range of applications nanotechnology can be used in was incredible and seeing how all of the individual projects the REU students worked on fit together and could be applicable to the others allowed me to further my interest in nanotechnology. Also, the environment of the lab made me feel as though I was living a true graduate school lifestyle. Every member of the lab was interested in the research and was helpful in giving criticism or possible changes to improve the results, which helped the project come together and allow me to get to know all of the people working in the lab.

Career Impacts and Plans

CEINT helped me decide that I do want to perform research as a career. Since I am only a rising sophomore, I will continue to look into more REU programs that involve nanotechnology. My long term goals are to earn a PhD in chemical engineering and perform research. I am currently looking into research in the fields of nanotechnology and alternative energy.

Elizabeth Mohr

Rising Junior
Chemical Engineering and Environmental Earth Science
Washington University in St. Louis
CEINT Research Site: CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

The CEINT REU Program was an extraodinary way to get exposure to the lifestyle of a laboratory researcher. It was so rewarding to be able to delve into such a specific and interesting area of study, and to work on a project with important environmental implications. I also very much enjoyed witnessing the immensely interdiscplinary nature of the research being done by CEINT, and meeting highly talented professionals and peers along the way. Lastly, living and working in France was a truly incredible and valuable cultural experience that I am so fortunate to have had.

Career Impacts and Plans

The experiences I had during the CEINT REU program furthered my desire to attend graduate school, and also solidified my interest in research and careers with an environmental focus. I think the program has also provided me with a set of tools that will aid me in any future studies or careers I choose to pursue.

Jasper Sia

Rising Junior
Chemical Engineering & Mathematics
University of Arizona
CEINT Research Site: Gunsch Lab, Duke University

In addition to the opportunity to work with frontier research on nanotechnology, developing relationships with the affiliates of CEINT was an integral part in my CEINT REU experience. In their busy schedules, my professor and graduate student invested on me their breadth of knowledge and time; they taught me the essentials and encouraged me to contemplate the reasons behind the nanoparticle experiments and procedures and to improve upon them. The weekly meetings and the people involved in them remind me of CEINT’s overarching objective and of how my seemingly small project is important to accomplish this multilayered collaborative goal. Between the CEINT REUs, we share with each other our exciting events and encourage each other during our discouraging days, both always present in research. The people are great, and I am truly thankful to be part of such an amazing experience.

Denise Lee

Rising Sophomore
Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Rice University
CEINT Research Site: CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

Having the privilege of working at the CEREGE this summer through the CEINT REU allowed me to mature both as a scientist and as a person. Being able to work in an international setting was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that opened my eyes to how different cultures live, work, and play. My project taught me how to communicate well with other scientists, honed my critical thinking skills, and how to think about the world of research in an international, interdisciplinary context. Perhaps most important of all, however, the CEINT REU granted me patience and humbleness in the pursuit of knowledge – a rare gift that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Career Impact and Plans

The CEINT REU helped cultivate my love for research and science, and going overseas also helped me realize my desire to think, work, and serve in a global context. I hope to somehow incorporate all of these things into a medical career in the future (MD + research track, MD/PhD, etc.) For the summer of 2014, I hope to split my time in between traveling independently, engaging in international service fellowships, and continuing to work on cancer research here in Houston.

Amulya Pervaje

Chemical Engineering Major
Vanderbilt University
CEINT Research Site: Vikesland Lab, Virginia Tech

I really enjoyed my lab experience in the summer. I learned to use the AFM really well. Also, previously I had never had actual lab work experience, so I was nice to get that over the summer. The graduate student I worked, Ron Kent was super nice and helpful and showed me the ropes in the experiments I was conducting. I enjoyed seeing two experiments to completion, from collecting data to analyzing the results. Outside the lab, it was nice to interact with wonderful, smart, capable individuals in the program or working for CEINT. Hearing the lectures in orientation and seeing everyone’s presentation at the end highlighted to me the wonderful research going on at CEINT and I felt lucky to be a part of it.

Career Impacts and Plans

I'm in the process of applying to jobs and graduate schools. I think the CEINT REU experience is definitely an asset to my resume and research experience. It's something I can talk about in my application or at an interview. It was really good hands-on research experience. I shall treasure the experience I had at CEINT REU.

Margaret Fleming

Rising Senior
Environmental Engineering
Cornell University
CEINT Research Site: Wiesner Lab, Duke University

The CEINT REU program offers a unique opportunity to learn and work amongst supportive and knowledgeable individuals, each with a passion for research. The highlight of my experience was collaborating with students, mentors, and professors from a variety of disciplines in order to reach a better understanding of how manufactured nanomaterials interact with natural systems. Working on my own project and getting to use instruments such as the scanning electron microscope and the transmission electron microscope to characterize BisBAL nanoparticles was stimulating and enlightening work. However, what makes CEINT so special is the time taken through both guest lectures and peer presentations to put each of our projects into context and see the ways in which our work connects to the overarching CEINT mission.

Career Impacts and Plans

Before participating in the CEINT REU program, I was uncertain about the path I would pursue after I graduate. Due in part to my amazing experience in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Duke University, I now know that I want to continue working in research. I plan on pursuing a PhD in environmental engineering and am currently exploring options for graduate school.

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...

Eric Ryberg

Rising Junior
Chemistry/Earth and Planetary Sciences
Johns Hopkins University
CEINT Research Site: DiGuilio Lab – Duke University

Participating in the CEINT REU program was a wonderful experience. The most eye-opening part of this experience was seeing how each piece of research fit into the larger breadth of knowledge that CEINT was pioneering. We each had the opportunity to see how our specific role fit into our lab’s research projects, and how those together fit into the big picture, all of which we learned about during our orientation. To see your own research pushes the boundaries of what you learned in class is truly something special. Outside of work, living with other highly motivated students was indescribable. I have never experienced such intellectually rewarding conversation in a casual setting before.

Career Impact and Plans

The CEINT REU helped me realize how much I appreciate environmental research. After finishing my undergraduate degrees, I hope to pursue a PhD in paleoclimatology. Until CEINT, I was switching between career choices, but now I have decided to continue my environmental studies into a graduate program.