We are now well into the 8th and last week. I have been practicing and reviewing my notes for the upcoming symposium. So far I feel comfortable and ready to present my project, yet still a bit nervous! I put a lot of effort into putting my poster together. explaining concepts and results and adding necessary pictures was difficult to do in a limited space. However, I feel that I managed the task well.
The past 8 weeks have been amazing and challenging. I really have been able to push myself beyond what I even knew what I was capable of. My experience in the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) will be unforgettable, I am sure! I have had so many more opportunities in field trips, hands on work, useful and enriching workshops, and social interactions than I anticipated. It has been wonderful and exciting to the point that I feel pampered rotten.
My overall ending view of SROP can be summarized in a short poem:
Summer is said to be a time for fun. A time for fun for everyone!
We all have our own interests. A different thought of what is fun.
What a conflict! How do we solve this woe?
Research! How so?
Research is the connecting umbrella that we all share.
It is natural. It is the little thought of instinct we call curiosity.
It is passion. It ignites the flame of motivation.
The umbrella (research) brings us together to learn. It brings us together to grow.
We are the umbrella!We are research!
Week 7 is at an end. My poster has been submitted for printing, after rigorous proofreading and revising. Now, I have my final report to write and presentation to practice. I could not have gotten this far without everyone’s help! I am especially grateful of my mentor. He constantly encourages me to do my best and reassures me that everything will work out fine, “Don’t panic”. I am both very excited and nervous for the upcoming symposium. I want to present well, which is a matter of practice.I am sure I can do it!
I am happy and honored to have been accepted into the Summer Research Opportunity Program!
The experiences I have had during this program will be unforgettable. The people I have met and places I have gone have been wonderful and inspiring. I feel a lot more comfortable and confident socializing in a relaxed casual setting. This type of setting was perhaps the most difficult for me to handle before I started SROP. Overall, almost every skill, if not every skill, I have has been improved as a result of participating in SROP.
I am now beginning week 5 of SROP and so far things are going well. On Tuesday of last week I went to Argonne National Laboratory with my mentor to help with/observe the sample fabrication process. The process was different from what I observed in my last project dealing with superconductors. Even the appearance of the machines were different even though they were categorized under the same group. The fabrication took the entire day but it is progressing. I am already observing/analyzing some diffraction patterns and will be, hopefully, taking more patterns to verify what we have now. So far, still on track!
My relationship with my current mentor is a bit different from my last mentor relationship. It is still comfortable to handle but there are differences. My last mentor relationship was more friend-like, with respect. In fact, I recently joined my previous mentor for lunch to catch up. My current mentor, although I feel awkward to say it, seems more father-like.
It is good that I am still on track. The Lorado Taft retreat was a somewhat interesting break from my work. However, I still tried to work while on the retreat. It was not very successful with no internet and few power outlets, which everyone was in line for. The thing I disliked most about the retreat was the bugs! I still have bites that I am treating as my repellent was not effective enough. The good thing, however, was being able to interact more with the individuals in the other research groups. I got to learn more about what they were doing and how it was different from my work. Strangely, even though their work was different, it could still be connected to my own work in some way. I will keep this in mind for future collaborations.
Week 3 is now at an end. It has certainly been exciting! On Wednesday, I and my fellow SROP members took a field trip to Fermilab! We learned a lot about Fermilab’s history, culture, and work. Some of the structures within Fermilab, such as the entrance arc, are a result of an artist’s inspiration with an emphasis on saving money! Fermilab is open to the public by allowing tours of the facility, fishing, biking, ect. The main work done at Fermilab deals with particle accelerators and colliding particles at a velocity near the speed of light. As interesting as the field trip was, it was not the only thing I did this past week.
I learned a bit about writing logs in the laboratory journal. My mentor showed me how to read important instruments such as the vacuum pump and what data to record such as pressure in units of pascals. I have also been doing more literature work and exercises. I have been reading textbooks on materials and mathematics to learn important concepts related to perovskite structure crystals and Fourier series and transforms for optics. It has been a bit challenging since the mentioned material is advanced for my current background. However, I thoroughly enjoy a challenge and am confident that I will be successful!
I cannot wait to see what the new week has in store for me. I am sure it will be fun!
The second week of SROP has not been too bad. I have submitted my project proposal and am on schedule with my timeline. For the rest of this week and next week, I will be studying more about the basics on electron diffraction. There may also be some training on the electron microscope. Then, I will actually start to get hands on experience! I will be using an electron microscope to study metal oxide crystals. This is just a very general description, however, which brings about another thought.
I am very privileged to be in SROP! I and my fellow SROP participants were given a tour of the company Nanophase, which deals a lot with metal oxides. We also got an informative and amusing talk from the CEO of Nanophase! I almost feel guilty for how kindly we are being treated! Besides the research experience, I am being more social than usual. There is really a sense of community that has been intertwined in this program! Every Tuesday we have social outings with SROP and several other program participants. This week we went bowling. It was a lot of fun. I ended up breaking my previous bowling score of consistent gutters!
Well… it has been nice chatting but it is time to get back to work. How fun!
I was very exited when I woke up. It was the first day of SROP! Immediately we dove into work. We were taught what was expected of us, in a very understandable and caring manner. We also started the proposal writing process, formulating our research questions and collecting articles to read. It may seem a bit immediate or rushed, but I expect nothing less from this delightfully structured and challenging program. The work is not bad so far, though it does require responsible planning and effort. I truly look forward to being able to get more research experience. Working alongside a professional in my field, physics, is quite an honor and privilege that I am willing to work hard for. The only thing that makes me feel a bit nervous is that my project will be very challenging, as I have not had all the classes needed for a very strong background. I will have to study, learn, ensure I am communicating an confusions with my mentor, and probably talk with some of my new-found friends in SROP who may also have some answers. However this project progresses, I am going to give it my full effort!