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Interesting Summer

Alejandra Casanova Sepúlveda's picture
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interesting summer

While summer means resting and relaxing for most students, I have been given the unique opportunity to create something this summer. Beginning this June I have been part of the Research Experience for Undergraduate Students in Reconfigurable & Multifunctional Soft-Materials Internship in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Yes, sounds complicated, right? The first thing that I learned was, what are soft-materials. As I found out, they simply combine the characteristics of liquids and solids. So, thinking about it again, soft-materials are really useful and interesting. But I do not want you to tie you up in details and theoretical considerations of my research, I want to share the first impressions of my research experience with you. This experience is one of the most challenging I have encountered so far and tackling it has proven to be self-growing. Even through the struggles, I think all students should experience it. A lot of the experiences we live start with overcoming a fear. I overcame a fear, I used to say I hated chemistry and everything that was related to it; the reality is that I did not know what I was talking about. There is so much more about it than a class of general chemistry. Also, the field of engineering is full of crazy, smart, enthusiastic and the smartest people, it is loaded with ideas that may seem impossible in the beginning but the more you think about it, the more achievable they become. This REU (Research Experience for Undergraduate Students) has required perseverance, responsibility, and lots of curiosity. I have learned at every step, from things like how to organize the data I am collecting, to things that I did not know existed such as Janus particles. Even when I thought I would not be accepted because of my Computational Engineering background and not one in chemistry I have found this Summer Research Experience is reachable for anyone who is willing to learn. The only way to grow as a person and a scientist is to have to accept that you don’t know everything and search for the answers.