I’m an undergraduate student in Cambridge and was kindly offered an internship at CARES over the summer. I worked in IRP1, under Prof Alexei Lapkin and ran some experiments for a PhD candidate in Cambridge.
This has been my first experience in a lab, where I was independent but with help from Li Wei, Hugo Schmidt (CARES Lab manager) and Dr Liu, it was a smooth journey and I was able to confidently conduct my experiments.
I was analysing a transesterification reaction, which required the use of a calorimeter and FTIR spectroscopy. The reagent we were investigating was also moisture sensitive, so I had to learn how to use the glove box. It was then that I really felt like a scientist! The set up required me to be meticulous and patient, to ensure that the data was good. Analysis of the results also allowed me to beef up my previously thin MATLAB coding skills.
Being able to apply knowledge and skills that I learnt in university made me see the practicality of studying chemical engineering. The internship gave me practical experience in research and I learnt a lot over the summer. I would like to thank Dr Lapkin and the CARES lab for the opportunity. I would also like to thank everyone at CARES for their hospitality and warmth.