Weekly WISE #5

Welcome back! This week, we have SSEP reflections written by Emily, Chloe, and Amelie. For more information about this week’s events, check out the 2022 Program Highlights page!

Emily N, Interpreter at the Fluvarium

Hello! My name is Emily and this summer I have been working as an interpreter at the Fluvarium through the Student Summer Employment Program with WISE. My placement is an excellent way for me to further explore my love for animals and interest in freshwater biomes across the island. My responsibilities usually consist of feeding and caring for our fish and amphibians, guiding programs for visiting summer camps, and educating the public. One of my favourite parts of my job is feeding the frogs and toads their breakfast of mealworms and super worms each morning. It’s always a great start to my day. After I feed the frogs and toads, I move onto cleaning tanks or Fluvarium windows which allow visitors a view directly into the stream. After a morning of caring for the animals, we open to the public at 12pm and I spend the rest of my day educating and chatting with visitors (and hanging out with our animals of course!). Since the beginning of my employment, I have learned a tremendous amount of new information about trout and amphibians on the island of Newfoundland and have been introduced to many different species of invertebrates. My supervisor and coworkers are so incredibly knowledgeable and kind; I could not be happier with my placement. This job is a great opportunity and has been such a positive experience. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my summer! 

Chloe C, Green Chemistry Lab Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Chloe, and I’ve been working for the past few weeks as a Green Chemistry Lab Research Assistant at the Core Science Facility. I’ve had so much fun this summer, and I’m getting accustomed to how everything works in the lab and outside the lab. 

Throughout the past few weeks, while I was getting to know everyone and getting used to being fully immersed in the lab, I cleaned glassware, and helped with a grad student’s work by measuring out 5.00g of crushed mussel shell – from mussels that I prepared, and combining it with 75.0mL of vinegar in an Erlenmeyer flask to then be put on the incubator shaker. As well, I did lots of research and made infographics on different types of seaweed, their uses, and the tools used to analyze them. This was a part of my main student mentor’s work.

This week has been a busy one for me. I’ve helped many of the graduate students with their individual research in my supervisors Dr. Fran Kerton and Dr. Chris Kozak’s group. I’ve helped a grad student with her research on uses for biochar (a black solid material made from carbon and ashes taken from the chemical pyrolysis of biomass) and learning how to properly read through articles to compose an experiment using protecting groups – chemical compounds that are designed to essentially “cover” the end of a compound being studied so as not to interfere with another reaction. We then got an NMR sample ready and tested it to make sure there was no water in it, which there wasn’t once we looked at the peaks. I’ve also done tests with another grad student to see which types of reducing sugars are in her partridge berry sample including precipitates and colour changes. As well, I’ve attended multiple seminars and group meetings with everyone in my lab group, which was cool because I got to hear about the specifics of a student’s research that he’s been working on all summer. On top of helping the grad students, I’ve also done some research myself on the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and made a google slides presentation on that.

It’s so awesome being here doing my job every day. I’m really enjoying it and I feel so lucky to be able to get this experience as a woman in STEM. I think this is really pushing a future for lots of girls like me who love science and want a chance to feel what it’s like to be a part of something so huge!

Amelie B, Design Assistant in the Engineering Department

Hi, my name is Amelie and this was my fifth week of the Wise Summer Student Employment Program. My job is a design assistant in the engineering department that focuses on modeling and learning about triboelectric nanogenerators. This week I got full access to the lab I’m working in and got to start working full-time in person! So far I’ve been using a software called
Comsol to model different types of triboelectric nanogenerators and have started testing different materials with them to see what gets the best results. It’s a very fun experience and I have learned a lot doing this. The models can take awhile to create,but once you get through it you can use it to test for many things so it’s worth it! Along with that I have been creating a presentation of a step-by-step tutorial on how to design a contact sliding mode triboelectric nanogenerator. I then showed the different things you should test to make sure it’s working. I’ve started learning how to use a new software called KLayout which I will use to develop my designs that I created on Comsol. Learning how to use all this new software is a very interesting process and I feel I am expanding my knowledge greatly. I am very thankful for this experience and feel like I am learning a lot!

Weekly WISE #5
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