Earlier in the semester, I posted about my tribulations in trying to secure an opportunity for this summer. I applied to several REU and internship positions, and had talked to several Lehigh professors about doing research here at school. Last week I received some much anticipated news, I was accepted into the REU program at Umass-Amherst. I am extremely excited for the opportunity and believe it will be very valuable for becoming a chemical engineer. REU stands for Research Experience for Undergraduates. Basically, the program at the school will give a taste of what it is like to do research and teach the fundamentals of performing research. This will help me to determine if I would like to go to graduate school following Lehigh. I don’t know much about the program yet, but am very excited for this summer (assuming I survive finals).
I posted a couple links above that serve as resources for the program. The program, called ICE (Institute for Cellular Engineering), centers around research in cellular function and manipulating cells to perform in a certain manner. The program combines ideas from many different disciplines, including chemical engineering, biology and bioengineering. The diversity of the program should provide a great opportunity to expand knowledge and learn about different things. I’ll also be able to employ ideas that I’ve already learned at Lehigh into the research opportunity. This is a quote from the site that I think really outlines the idea behind cellular engineering, “Cellular engineering is a new frontier of applied biology. Understanding cellular function and manipulating cells/tissues to perform in a particular manner is the basis for many ventures in the biomedical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, including drug production from cell culture, generation of artificial organs for replacement of diseased tissues, and design of bioremediation processes for waste water clean-up.”
Apart from the research side of the experience, which is obviously the most important aspect, I will also be able to experience living in a different place and meeting new people. I’ve never been to Massachusetts and I’m looking forward to spending some time away from home and school. According to the acceptance letter I received, there are also career advising events and recreational events during the nine-week program. I hope this will help me form a stronger idea of what type of career I want to pursue. Overall, I am extremely excited for the summer and can’t wait to start the program.