Wabash Blogs Summers in Science

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Syud Ahmed: Nanotechnology at Wisconsin

Syud "Taz" Ahmed, Madison, Wisconsin — As an international student at Wabash, I was amazed by the science I was being introduced to in college. I was exposed to new concepts and ideas involving nanotechnology and materials chemistry, and of course was introduced to an array of analytical instruments.

As prepared as I thought I was, I was definitely nervous as I stepped in the University of Wisconsin, Madison chemistry building. I was afraid I might not meet up to the high standards of the top-notch research facility.

It was in very short time that I realized the tension and wrecking nerves were completely unnecessary. I realized that I truly knew exactly what I was doing and was very comfortable doing it. My colleagues were actually quite surprised how I had jumped right into a project as an undergraduate and were very impressed with my ability to work independently.

The people here were not only impressed by that, but were also impressed by the fact that I was always willing to learn when I did not know something. They were also impressed that I knew some things that many people do not know, such as how an interferometer works, or why there is a P and an R branch when taking IR readings.

By the end of the first week, I was like any other member of the research group, reading papers, running my own experiments, and using extremely powerful and expensive equipment. The two and half years of research experience I gained at Wabash working for Dr. Lon Porter were absolutely priceless; I believe it was those experiences that helped me the most.

Considering the fact that the research I did at Wabash is somewhat related to what I have been working on this summer, I seemed to have an advantage from the very start. Wabash had definitely prepared me well for this experience, which actually makes me appreciate our chemistry program a lot more in addition to the high thoughts I had of it previously.

This off campus experience has given me a better perspective of research conducted in graduate school and has definitely encouraged my decision to pursue higher studies (M.S. or Ph.D) in the fields of Materials Science.