Hey everyone! Hope you’re having a great week!
This week I wanted to take a chance to talk about my research experiences while I’ve been at school! I’ve worked in research almost every semester in college. Getting involved in research is something I get asked about a lot and is actually pretty easy- it mostly just involves approaching your professors. I found my first research job by emailing different professors whose research I thought sounded cool and learning from the beginning. I started working in lead sulfide quantum dot research for use in solar energy!
I found my newer research job by reaching out to a professor I had freshman year. I remembered that she worked in nanomaterials and I wanted to learn more about it, so I set up a meeting with her. During that meeting she told me she needed a new undergraduate in the lab and I started just a few weeks later!
I started in this lab analyzing the change in deformation of thin film composite materials of niobium and copper. This involved learning how to use a nanoindentor and an Atomic Force Microscope. It has been awesome to learn how to use such cool equipment, and also to be doing research in a mostly untapped field.
This year I’ve been working on a new project- electroplating of brass in order to create nanotwinned microstructures. I’ve really liked this project because I’ve gotten to use a little bit more of my chemistry background to work with electroplating, and I’ve also learned a lot about electrochemistry. We also use the focused ion beam microscope to cut the samples and analyze their structure.
Working in a lab is great for the hands on experience, and also the experience of working within a lab group and utilizing the varied skills of the team. I love being surrounded by such intelligent scholars and really making a contribution to the forefront of science. Research has been one of the best experiences I’ve had at USC!