Monday, July 28, 2014

2014 URP Symposium Experience- Melissa

Hi guys!
Friday was the Undergraduate Research Program's symposium. It was a chance for undergraduate students (and SEED students, too!) to display what they have accomplished during the duration of their respective programs. The morning began with a breakfast and the keynote which was given by Dr. Yoosuf Picard from Carnegie Mellon University. He talked about lasers and using them to make micro and nanoscale tools. After that was the plenary session where specific undergraduates who were chosen before hand to give their talks were able to. After these presentations was the picnic lunch. This gave me time to be with my family and calm myself down before my half of the two-hour presentation window was to begin. This summer's symposium went a lot smoother than last year and my poster had a lot more traffic than last year as well. Even the keynote speaker came to my poster, and he told me that I did a great job despite only being in high school.
There wasn't anything I didn't enjoy about friday, but a man came up to my poster and asked me if I knew what D0 stood for in the Arrhenius equation. I did, but due to nerves, I was unable to properly relay to him what it is the equation does and what the prefactor (or D0) means. This lead him to give me a 10 minute lecture on an equation that I had already known about, but I appreciated it nonetheless.
Dr. Wheeler came to my poster, too. He congratulated me for what I had accomplished and told me we weren't finished yet. There is much more still needed to be done before I depart for San Francisco and the ACS fall meeting. He also told me that if I ever needed a recommendation letter, he would be more than happy to write me a very strong recommendation. Upon hearing this, I teared up. The visiting Duquesne Alumnus didn't lie, networking is very important.
Everyone did a wonderful job on Friday, and I'm very upset that this was my last symposium at Duquesne. Unfortunately my SEED experience is almost over, and I cherish everything I've been taught and everyone I've met along the way. I wish I had more time here.

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