Summer Research at University of Sussex
                                          relished the challenge. Although there  ...
For eight weeks Paul worked with            Taking his own advice, he traveled all      Career & International Education a...
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U Of Sussex Summer Research

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Transcript of "U Of Sussex Summer Research"

  1. 1. Summer Research at University of Sussex relished the challenge. Although there worked in a lab abroad and might say is still some work to be done on it, she ‘hey that’s different.’” said the opportunity to work on a technical paper worthy of publication So what is next for Michelle, after she was valuable experience. graduates this year? She wants to volunteer for a year. She is thinking And what else does a summer abroad about AmeriCorps, working have to offer? The ISS program set up somewhere in South America. After many organized trips for the summer that she wants to go to graduate students, which Michelle took full school for Environmental Toxicology. advantage of. Most weekends there For Michelle Knabb, a senior chemistry were “outings” all over the place. All by Dustin Grinnell major at Penn State, going abroad was told, she went to Stonehenge, Bath, always part of the plan. and even Paris. When Paul Chiarulli went to England, She knew though, for most Asking her about her favorite part of to a chemistry lab at Sussex University undergraduate science students, with the experience, she reminisced about he didn’t expect to have to chase many obligations and commitments, her trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. down wild voles in the countryside, there was usually just not enough time but that is exactly what was asked of to “fit it in.” When Susan Knell from “Some of my friends and I took a trip him. the Eberly College of Science without the whole ISS group and I presented her with the idea of going to really felt like I learned a lot about the Sussex University as part of Sussex culture on that trip.” International Summer School (ISS) in These realizations about the culture England to work in a chemistry lab, and herself were quite common during she knew it was her chance. her stay. The beauty of the opportunity was that “I was born in Pennsylvania, I went to she could go abroad and be a part of a school at Penn State, and I had never legitimate research project. been abroad before, so the prospect of “A lot of upperclassmen have to worry doing research internationally was about getting research experience,” scary at first.” As a senior chemistry major at The she thought: “Why not do it in another Although going was out of her comfort Pennsylvania State University there country?” zone she thinks the whole experience were many times Paul was out of his With two summers spent at the Stroud has made her more independent, and comfort zone. In fact the whole eight Water Research Center and two years definitely more self-confident. Besides weeks was an exercise in variety. in a lab at Penn State, Michelle is no wrestling with new scientific methods, and instruments, there were many Paul’s desire to do research stranger to the lab. Her interest in things she had to do that summer that internationally as part of the Sussex biogeochemistry landed her in Dr. John she had never had to do before. International Summer School (ISS) was Zhou’s lab which conducts research at Although she’s never been good with both professional and personal. “I Sussex in the Department of Biology directions there were many times ended up going because I didn’t know and Environmental Science. where she needed to be; she found exactly what I wanted to do after For eight weeks Michelle and her lab even little things like that encouraged school and I wanted to try science worked to develop a better method for personal growth. from another perspective. The work I analyzing pharmaceuticals in stream was going to be doing with my advisor sediments. How does she think the whole was something I had never done experience has helped her before; it gave me an opportunity to Although she could not completely professionally? Well, she thinks that try something new. Also, I wanted to finish her project, because an having gone abroad to do her research be more well-rounded.” This study important instrument broke down part will certainly give her an edge. abroad experience gave him that was through the experience, the “free chance. time” allowed her to start drafting a “People who look at resumes will want paper on the results they had already to see that you have a certain amount collected. It was the first time she had of research experience, someone who taken on the challenge of writing a looks at my resume might see that I scientific paper for publication and she
  2. 2. For eight weeks Paul worked with Taking his own advice, he traveled all Career & International Education at Professor Sue Hartley studying the through England and even to Prague. In sek104@science.psu.edu interaction between voles and grasses. the summer he was away from home he Working with two post docs and six PhD ventured to cities like Bath, historical by Dustin Grinnell students he measured silica uptake in sites like Stonehenge, and even new and plants and studied how different interesting countries like concentrations altered the feeding Czechoslovakia. behavior of voles that fed on them. This is how Paul found himself chasing down For Paul the experience was both those furry little creatures in the wild. personally and professionally rewarding; he feels like he is a better person and a In all, Paul was trained in a range of better scientist. techniques, both in the field and in chemical analysis of plant material in “Overall I felt like the experience the lab. Day-to-day activities involved broadened my horizons as a scientist.” the use of light microscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, flash So what’s Paul up to now? He is thinking combustion and gas chromatographic about graduate school, most likely in separation; techniques he will chemistry, maybe even engineering, or undoubtedly use in the future. bioengineering. He had to work with animals, which he Even though there probably won’t be had never done before. The experience any voles in his future Paul is happy to was interesting to him, he found himself have experienced research in a new lab, intrigued by the voles behavior. In the and a new country, to have learned end his experience with animals and more about who he is and where he ecology reminded him of his passion for wants to go. chemistry. This trend of self-discovery was common throughout the summer. When asked if he’d do it all over again he responded But lab work isn’t the whole story. Even quickly and confidently: though he had to be in the lab everyday “Definitely.” there was plenty of time for fun and adventure. In fact his advice to other For more information about the Sussex International Summer School students thinking about going to do research internationally is to balance (ISS) and more of Penn State’s international research experiences your time. contact Susan Knell, Director of Science

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