By Michael Gilbert • Schulich Leader at University of New Brunswick
This past semester, I was fortunate to have won an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA). I am now working under the supervision of Dr. Sean McGrady in the McGrady Group at the University of New Brunswick. The research interests of the group are in clean or renewable energy, including hydrogen storage, carbon dioxide sequestration and upgrading and desulfurization of oils and bitumens. I am very excited to be given my own project on silanes to work on. While I am getting to apply a lot of the chemistry and lab techniques I have already learned, I am also learning a lot more, which I have not yet encountered or will not encounter at all in my medicinal chemistry degree, so I'm very lucky! Despite breaking some glassware along the way, I am really proud of my progress so far and can't wait to learn more and improve my lab skills as the summer goes on.
As a student studying STEM, I would strongly recommend looking for opportunities to do research in your undergraduate degree. It's a great way to compliment and build upon what you are studying in class, and it is also nice to see what it's like working in a STEM field. Don't be scared to apply for grants, jobs or to even ask professors if they are able to take on a summer student as an employee or even as a volunteer. I actually didn't know the professor I am currently working for, and although I was nervous to ask him to sponsor me, I am really glad I did because otherwise, I would not have had this amazing opportunity to learn and grow as a student.