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Week Too Many Things To Do

So far during my internship all I have done is: read 10 articles discussing NZVI technology, attend a day full of lectures about recent CMOP projects, brave the scrutinous review of the NSF site vist team, stumble my way through using labview to autonomously collect data, conduct rheology experiments for 7 different fluids, redo rheology experiments, and redo rheology experiments. And I thought my summer would be full of excitement...

Sarcasm aside, the past two weeks have been rather.. educational. Both within and outside the lab/cave (not really, there are windows) I learned many lessons that will support the success of my project and develop my abilities as a young engineer. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity of testing my knowledge so rigorously immediately after graduating. 

One activity in particlar gave me resounding insight; the NSF site visit. The day started out with lectures by select investigators outlining the state of CMOP's science. Hearing about CMOP from the perspective of those individuals was enlightening. Afterwards I attended a few graduate students' electronic poster presentations outlining the Next Generation Virtual Columbia River. The most impacting experience, however, was when one of the cofounders of CRITFC discussed the connection between environmental science research, native american policy, and future management of the Columbia River. His descriptive illustration reminded me why I care so much about this work and inspired me contemplate the greater impacts of our actions.

When I am not pondering philosphy of environmental science and policy, I attempt to characterize the viscosity of different concentrations of xanthan gum solutions. So far I have been unable to produce any meaningful data, but we are getting close! Our first batch of xanthan did not result in a solution of high enough viscosity. We have since changed to what the manufacturer claims a higher quality xanthan. Despite these efforts our results still fall outside our theoretical expectations. These set backs have been increasing my stress level, lucky my mentor has so far been able to console my concerns. The frustrations I have had thus far merely indicate my level of commitment to this project, and I am confident that valuable outcomes will result from our work.

I will announce the very moment of our success in collecting this set of data.

Thanks for reading.