Soft Matter

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A summer of learning

Joseph Alexander Monarres's picture

This summer, I decided to throw myself into an increadable and challenging experiance. An experiance full of new information, a new culture, a new environment, a new language. This summer internship got off to a flying start with a brief detour in New York City, where I first met my mentor and the other student who would be working in the same field as me. Due to the strikes at UPR, this is where we were originally planning to do our research, however, the complications of trying to find an affordable living space in New York proved to be too great. Luckily the strikes had ended by the time we arrived in NYC, so we decided to continue on our way to Puerto Rico.

In the middle of an awesome experience

Alondra Y Muniz's picture

I first knew about this REU in Soft Matter by seeing propaganda around campus. As a curious fact, I never thought of applying because I had other research plans for the summer. Later, a friend motivated me and made me see what a fantastic opportunity I was missing out on. I realized that he was right and decided to apply since I’ve always been interested in materials and their wide range of applications in the different fields. Around mid-March I received the notice that I was accepted in the program and so my journey began. I was assigned to work in the characterization of type-1 collagen matrixes modified with iron oxide nanoparticles for modulation of cell behavior.

Jumping into a Summer of New Experiences

Austin John Dosh's picture

I dove headfirst into this summer not knowing what to expect. It is hard to believe that one month ago I was stepping off a plane in Puerto Rico not knowing anyone. Over the past four weeks, I have made friendships and professional research connections that will last a lifetime. I came to Puerto Rico knowing very little about what sorts of adventures this summer would hold. Due to the strike within the UPR system at the time, everyone was feeling their fair share of uncertainty regarding the summer’s plans. I am incredibly grateful for all the steps that were taken to accommodate for such circumstances and to provide us all with the best experience possible; it has been incredible.

Research, Friends, and a Beautiful Island

Aaron Henson's picture

            My name is Aaron Henson. I am a Junior in Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University. This summer I have been given the opportunity to participate in the Research Experience for Undergraduates in Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. My research is focused on the use of MgO nanoparticles to efficiently disinfect water due to the bactericidal effect that MgO nanoparticles have on E. Coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus Aureus. I have been in Puerto Rico for a month now. Though one month is a very short amount of time, the program has already greatly impacted my professionalism and attitude towards research.

My first internship experience....

Khoa Dang Do's picture

My name is Khoa Do. I’m currently a Texas Tech chemical engineering undergrad student. During this summer 2017, I am so lucky to be chosen to participate in the REU program at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. However, something had happened in the last minute, which resulted in a relocation of me and another four students to the University of Madison at Wisconsin for eight weeks. Then, we will fly to Mayaguez to present our posters in the last two weeks of the program. Personally, I do not consider this as an unfortunate incidence because this is the great opportunity to work with both the professors in these two schools as well as learn new things from both environments.

From Mayaguez to Madison

Kasie Coogan's picture

            Although this summer wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I am extremely grateful for the opportunities presented to me. The summer took a surprising start as I was relocated to Madison, but the experiences I have had so far have made it all worthwhile. I have the chance to benefit from the expertise of both the UPRM and UW Madison. My situation is particularly unique because I have continued to work of Dr. Cordova at UPRM and am also a part of Dr. Abbott’s lab at UW. Working with both labs has allowed me to gain a greater breadth of knowledge than I otherwise would have.


Seneca Cox's picture

Most people are surprised to hear that I am a physics and mathematics major at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. I love mathematics and have research experience in mathematics, but I decided I am more interested in a career doing physics research. One of my main interests in physics is materials science, and I thought an REU in soft matter would be a good way to explore that interest. I learned about this internship at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez from the chair of the physics department at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and applied immediately. I got accepted in April, and the excitement of getting to do physics research in Puerto Rico got me through my finals.

The Beginning of an Amazing Experience

Chloe Hill's picture

            It’s hard to believe I’ve been in Puerto Rico for nearly a month.  Time has just been absolutely flying by.  Even in this short time I’ve learned an incredible amount, and I’m sure I’ll only learn more in my remaining time here.  Living here has introduced me to so many new friends and mentors both in the context of research and in everyday life.

Professional Development at UPRM 2017 Summer REU

Nicholas Hoffman's picture

I have always been fascinated with the process of scientific development. This fascination lead me to major in a technical field; material science and engineering, and lead me to pursue exposure to research opportunities. My first true research experience is here, at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez in soft matter.


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