Tuesday, May 19, 2009

From Tampa to Newark

Author: Wendy Mussoline

I’m on the first leg of this trip of a lifetime…Fellow students and our faithful escort, Dr. Yeh, boarded the flight with much anticipation...The flight is packed and kids are screaming, but nothing is annoying in this moment…everyone is filled with excitement about our summer destination in Delft. Personally, I am looking forward to meeting the team at IHE and discovering what our daily life will be like…I have seen pictures of the University and my imagination has created images of the laboratory where we will be working and the dorms where we will be living. Of course, everything will look different than the images my mind has created. Regardless of the surroundings, my hope is that the academic influence that I receive at IHE this summer will not only help direct my dissertation work but will also provide perspective for my future. I anticipate that the lab work will be very structured as I will be working directly under Dr. Piet Lens and assisting a doctoral student in his/her research on metals analysis in anaerobic digestion. I picture a sterile environment with studious individuals, white lab coats and perfectly constructed digesters filled with various types of waste. I am a professional engineer by trade and my work is mostly conducted in the field. My lab experience is limited to a summer internship at Florida Power and Light, my master’s research at the University of Florida and some training at USF. I envision the lab at IHE to be well-advanced, organized and equipped with the latest and greatest technology. I look forward to learning new lab methods and implementing them back at USF during my research.

The cultural experience is truly the most exciting part of this trip. The exposure to new thought processes and broader perspectives will help me mature academically and socially. I want to meet new people and exchange ideas….I want to sit in a coffee shop and observe the way of life…I want to partake in the local fare and learn some Dutch while I am in Delft. One of my first objectives will be to find a cheap bike for transportation around the city. Even though we are close enough to walk to IHE, I will enjoy seeing every detail of the city and traveling by bike to other nearby communities. I am also very thankful for the other students that I’ll be working alongside…I know that we will form a strong bond as we share these new experiences together in a foreign place…I think the experience will be even more enriching as we share our observations and discoveries with one another.

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