Friday, August 5, 2011

A Summer to Remember... And our 100th blog!!

Thinking back to my expectations of the Netherlands as a beautiful country full of tall Dutch people, huge windmills, and scenic vistas, I now know that I was completely right. However, there is much more to this country than meets the eye, such as awesome cheese! I have never lived in such an unbelievable place. Fiets-ing (Biking) to work every morning, I felt like I was in a movie. With such helpful and gracious citizens, living in the Netherlands was certainly an experience to remember. 

On weekends, I had a chance to travel to Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy. My gained perspective from these adventures is incredible, as one tends to develop a stronger appreciation of cultural similarities and differences on such trips. I was completely floored at each country's architectural and engineering accomplishments, such as the Colosseum in Rome or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I certainly have a strong desire to return to these countries to explore, ideally with my IHE group-mates!

Bruges, Belgium!
Paris, France!
Koln, Germany!

Rome, Italy

My research accomplishments, however, leave my travel feats in the dust. My sole focus of this trip was to achieve ideal system design factors for a biosorption system (assuming batch reactor kinetics). I'm thoroughly proud to announce that I have met my objectives and will be publishing my work to a journal!

Prior to this experience, I did not have a significant amount of intensive laboratory experience. I am happy to announce that I have significantly progressed along the learning curve to being an efficient, productive laboratory researcher. Specifically, I have become an expert on the art of measuring metal content with a flame and graphite AAS. There are too many learned skills to list, but I mainly learned about batch reactor kinetics, isotherms, precipitation theory, sorption theories, biosorption practices, and general laboratory practices such as gravimetric measuring methodology, solution preparation, and thorough experiment documentation.

Without a doubt, this experience will help me in my career, as I am now starting to focus on areas in which I would like to specialize. I think that I am ready to progress forward in the research world, and I'm excited to see what is in store for me!

I'd like to extend a huge thank you to NSF IRES for financing this incredible experience! Thank you also to UNESO-IHE faculty, staff, and students for providing a warm environment in which to learn and grow in my research abilities. Thank you to Dr. Yeh and Dr. Trotz for their constant mentorship and program coordination. Lastly, dank u wel to all the members of the 2011 IRES students for their constant companionship in research and trips to other countries.

My favorite memories of the summer:
* My roommate Anh's renditions of Vietnamese music (usually coming from the shower)
* Mari's amazing unibrow at the mustache party
* Caryssa's fantastic navigational skills with her GPS, getting us out of some pretty bad situations...
* Kristen's constant supply of stroopwaffles and fantastic conversation!
* Suzie's paper-mache duck and other toaster oven creations (best oatmeal cookies I've ever had - no contest)

Farewell to the 6000 samples I took this summer!!


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