Jamaica, W.I. (living in Lowell)
|Semesters at TURI Lab: 1|
I’m an international student from the Caribbean, currently pursuing my bachelor of science in chemical engineering. I chose to do engineering mainly because my favorite subjects in high school were math, physics, biology and chemistry, and I figured that engineering would allow me to continue applying my love for the sciences in my coursework. Originally I chose to do civil engineering, since that was what my brother did when he was in college and seemed pretty interested in it. However, I switched to chemical engineering after one semester because I felt that the field is so diverse and there are so many things that I could get into with a chemical engineering degree, even if its “probably the hardest major at UML” (so I've heard time and time again, and I’m beginning to believe it!)
As an international student, I have a harder time finding co-ops or even part-time jobs on campus that will allow me to get experience that count towards my major (since all the other student work in the labs working under a professor or doing research require work study – which I’m not eligible for). So, I was so excited to discover the TURI lab, where I could volunteer and gain experience (my lab directors even said that there may be possibilities for me to be paid in the future!). Another reason why I was so excited about working at the TURI lab was that I’m really interested in green living and doing what we can to preserve the environment. In the Jamaica, we don’t recycle as much as we should, nor does anyone seem very interested in reducing the harmful chemicals the use in their homes and around their families, so I was excited to finally find a place that has a goal that coincides with my interests.
I’m not too sure which concentration of chemical engineering I want to do when I graduate, but that’s why I want to take advantage of co-ops now and get a taste of several different areas in the field while I can still “job-hop” to see what different companies and concentrations are like. For now, I plan to stick to general chemical engineering for my undergrad degree.
|Projects worked on: Kreussler, Aerovox, P2OASys|
|Favorite part of working at TURI: The flexible hours and friendly coworkers. I can’t think of a more fun setting that I’ve been able to work in thus far, especially one that allows me to get lab experience for field that require a lot of lab work (eg. research and development), and of course, when school gets overwhelming, the lab directors Jason and Heidi are really understanding and reassuring about students having to take a break or time off because of school.|
|Past jobs: So far I've only had two jobs – one as a sales rep/beauty consultant at a cosmetics retailer back at home in Jamaica, and the other as a quality intern at Interstate Container New England. When compared to my job in sales, TURI was less hectic and I had more time between a project’s start and finish to think it through. I guess I’d say TURI is more predictable than retail. Compared to my job at Interstate, TURI has a nicer environment (I prefer working in labs than working around an assembly line for boxes), there are more people around my age with things in common, and the work is more related to my major.|
Skills Learned at TURI Lab:
I learned how to utilize a database to do calculations and data analysis on the toxicity of chemicals (yay P2OAsis tool). I learned how to do lab write ups (for a business, which is a bit different than the lab reports done in freshman chemistry lab) and conduct individual analysis/research. I also learned how to use new tools and machinery and get adjusted in a new work environment, as well as about safety when working with chemicals (how to handle them, what their incompatibilities are, what they do and how to prevent injury when working with them).
The skills that I appreciated the most were working with MSDS’s and learning about chemicals and their incompatibilities. These skills helped me to get a professional co-op at Karl-Storz Endovision where I’ll be focused on researching sterilization techniques and finding what chemicals are most suited to be used to clean specific equipment, as well as most suited versus incompatible for use with other chemicals. This sort of work goes well with the experience I gained at the TURI lab, since I was involved with a lot of testing involving cleaning simulation (like seeing which cleaners work best on various soils and surfaces).