An Invaluable Experience
Building new and exciting skills was a big part of their summer, as was meeting those who could be their future colleagues.
“A major part of my project was vaporizing compressed-powder targets with a high-power laser under high pressures and temperature gradients,” Don explains. “This technique, called laser vaporization-controlled condensation (LVCC), is not widely used, and the lab I interned at is at the forefront of this type of research.”
Independent research, planning, and problem solving also played a role in their enrichment projects.
“If my [instructor] wanted me to test something, it was often discussed without the experimental steps, and it was up to me to formulate how to test what was asked about," Don adds. "I also sometimes got results that didn’t make sense, in which case I needed to backtrack and figure out what went wrong, or if nothing did, how to explain the results that I received.”
Both students were well-prepared for the work they were handed because of the guidance they’ve received from Guilford’s Chemistry Department.
“I learned how to perform flash chromatography and use a glove box (oxygen-free box with chemicals inside),” Takisha says. “Most of the techniques I used were skills I learned taking Organic Chemistry at Guilford.”
An Amazing Opportunity
Both Takisha and Don are sure about one thing — chemistry is definitely their thing.
“I don’t have specific goals for where I would like to end up,” Don says, “but I would love to end up in a chemical research environment.”
Takisha shares a similar sentiment. “I would love to continue researching and finding ways to create affordable medicines for people dealing with conditions that call for currently expensive medicine.”
And for both of them this was the chance of a lifetime.
“I am very grateful,” Don says. “All variables that would have made it more difficult logistically were taken care of, like housing, transportation, and food. We were given $5,000 for the summer, which allowed us to focus solely on our projects and developing our research skills.”
Takisha says her favorite aspect of the experience was working with an institute that has the same goal as her — to make medicine more accessible to all people.
“The lab I worked for collaborates with the Medicines for All Institute, whose mission is to improve access to affordable, high-quality medicines,” she says. “The team I worked with was extremely supportive and willing to share their knowledge with me. Being a part of this experience was incredible.”
Are you interested in studying chemistry or engineering where your professors know you by name — and encourage you to take part in enriching summer opportunities? Schedule your visit to Guilford to learn about various science opportunities and to meet students like Takisha and Don.