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Week 1+ (June 16-20)

With finals just last week, this is my first week here at CMOP--a week later than everyone else, (but its such a great group that I feel at home already!) This week has been pretty exciting so far, in getting adjusted to the research I'm doing and the experience as whole. I'm extremely lucky to have such a great frontline mentor (Jim Nurmi), senior scientist (Paul Tratynek), and fellow interns (Lauren and Peter) here in lab to help me out.

Quite pathetically, the biggest obstacles I've faced this week haven't had anything to do with research, but rather with transportation. I live in Vancouver, WA, which is really only about 25 miles or so from the DoSE campus. However, with traffic it takes more than an hour each way to drive. (Not to mention at least a gallon of gas for each round trip drive here) Since my internship with Environmental Biomolecular Systems (EBS) I figured I'd try to at least carpool or take the Max. However, my first trip on the Max resulted in my arriving 45 late...because after getting off, I got lost about 5 minutes away from campus, walking aimlessly in circles, hoping I'd somehow find it. But I guess I'll be taking the Max from now on (since I have since learned to read a map), but it's still a 15 min drive to the Max, hour long Max ride, and 20 min walk to campus. I guess a good time to get some sleep in!

Oops, I really didn't mean to spend so long whining about my commute.

On a brighter, more relevant note, research has been pretty cool! The first day involved a bit of shock at my complete ignorance. As a junior next fall, I've taken all of the intro chemistry/bio/physics classes, but I've realized that I had an almost nonexistent knowledge of electrochemistry. A lot of this week has been learning and getting a grasp of the basics.

Contrary to what the website says, my project involves looking at MnO2. I've been making MnO2 electrodes with both synthetic and biogenic MnO2 and running Cyclic Voltammetry in different solutions to get an idea of the electrochemical response. Honestly, I'm still not completely sure of the meaning of all of it, but I'm still learning.

Also, yesterday us interns took a super fun trip to OHSU and then went to a OEAP Forum. Going to OHSU was pretty awesome. As a bioengineering major, it was really neat seeing their department of biomedical engineering. As I'm also considering med school, the rest of the tour was great too! As for the OEAP forum, the food was delicious! The topic was interesting as well--on environmental risks of pharmaceuticals and flame retards, and I was psyched when I heard about it this morning on NPR on my way to work too!

Overall, I'm really excited about the rest of this summer, and it has been a really eventful week!