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New Directions: A Summary of My Research

Imagen de Kasie Coogan

            This summer I have had the opportunity to explore an area of research that was completely unfamiliar to me. My project studied forced colloids in nematic suspensions via Brownian Dynamics simulations. If this sounds totally confusing to you, then you are in the same boat I was in two months ago. Don’t worry, I’ll clue you in on some of the things I learned this summer. A nematic suspension refers to a group of particles that exhibit a particular alignment along an axis. In this case, the suspension models that of a nematic liquid crystal. Due to their ordering, liquid crystals are anisotropic, meaning that their properties are dependent on the direction in which they are measured.

783 Million People Without Drinkable Water...

Imagen de Aaron Henson

According to The Water Project (, in 2016, there were 783 million people who did not have access to clean water sources. Not having a clean water source greatly increases the mortality rate and drastically decreases the quality of life. Having the opportunity to potentially help with this problem by performing research in a new water disinfection technique this summer has impacted me in many ways, both professional and personal. I arrived at UPRM two months ago to participate in the REU program for undergraduate research. In the past two months I have been blessed to experience the rich culture of Puerto Rico and make lifelong friends.

Halfway a Powder-ful Summer Experience

Imagen de Nadja Michelle Maldonado Luna

My name is Nadja M. Maldonado Luna. I am a second year Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus. From the moment, I decided to apply for this REU experience I knew that it was going to be an interesting adventure both academically and personally. I knew I was going to have to face some big challenges. The UPR system went on strike early April, so a summer internship would mean for me, to risk finishing my classes to be able to have an experience that would certainly benefit both my present as an undergraduate student and my future as a professional.  So far, I’ve met amazing people, from my fellow REU mates and now friends, to my mentor and advisor. All these people have been making my summer a remarkable one.

¡Tan Muchos Primeros! (So Many "Firsts!")

Imagen de Brittany Nelson

            Guess who got to put out a REAL fire with a fire extinguisher for the first time? I did! There are so many other "firsts" that I have experienced here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, both related and unrelated to my research.

            I was excited to learn that I would be spending my summer in Madison because I had never been to Wisconsin. Unlike my hometown, Madison has beautiful lakes that enhance the city. The university is full of life, even in the summer, and overflowing with people who are thrilled about learning.

Science is Hard

Imagen de Patrick Stefan Soltis

Science is exciting. Fact. We know this is true because, since science is also difficult, nobody would bother doing science if not for the excitement. They’d pick something that pays better and lets you leave right at 5 pm every day. You could not show me a scientist who is never stimulated while inventing a new theory, ecstatic when experimental evidence proves conclusive, motivated to solve one of society’s great problems, or enthralled when learning about the mysteries of the universe.

The path to a great start in research development

Imagen de Alex Mora

Greetings! My name is Alex Mora. I am a sophomore student in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Campus. During this summer, I’ve had the joy of participating of the Research Experience for Undergraduates in Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials program at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. I am fairly shy person. However, I did not want my shyness to be an obstacle in my career. Therefore, I decided to challenge myself into applying to this research experience for undergraduates, and I’m glad I did. The experience overall has been wonderful, I have made lots of friends and learned many things along the way. As an Industrial Biotechnology major, I found very interesting the programs focus on soft materials.

A summer of learning

Imagen de Joseph Alexander Monarres

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

Imagen de Alondra Y Muniz

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.

Which makes us feel like a family

Imagen de Taylor Dawn Graham

This has been a wonderful summer full of being out of my comfort zone, trying new food and living a different life style. This is also my last summer as an undergraduate student. I will be graduating from the College of Saint Benedict this December with a chemistry major and a mathematic minor.


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