Lauren Minne is a Third Year Chemical Engineering/Science Student who recently completed a Summer scholarship with the school of Chemistry at the University of Sydney.
Over the summer of 2016-2017, I was involved in a supervised research project based around the synthesis of polymer nanoparticles, the like of which are currently being investigated for their use in drug delivery to tumours. This opportunity came in the form of a Summer Research Scholarship within Dr Markus Muellner’s Polymer Nanostructures group. My experience as a Summer Scholar was excellent, and offered fantastic insight into the world of scientific research.
Over the course of the project, I benefitted from academic support and guidance from my supervisor, as well as other PHD and Masters students within my research group, whilst also enjoying a level of independence in my daily lab work. I was included in decisions about the direction of the research I was undertaking, mostly in the form of constantly modified and refined experimental methods, responding to favourable (and unfavourable) results.
As a Summer Scholar, I had access to advanced analysis equipment, such as the HNMR and GPC (Gel Permeation Chromatography) technologies, allowing me to develop lab skills not generally utilised by second year chemistry students. I was also able to observe and interact with full-time researchers, and gained a better understanding of what a career in scientific research entails.
Overall, this project provided a fulfilling, productive and enjoyable way to spend a part of my summer vacation, and enabled my general lab skills and understanding of science to grow immensely.