This summer I decided to work a very different job than I have the previous two years in order to gain experience in an academic research setting. Being a full time researcher is a drastically different internship than working in contracting for a federal environmental agency or as a laboratory assistant for a chemical firm. My introduction to my new job was based entirely on learning the theory, terminology, and background on the chemical systems and processes that I was going to be studying for an independent project.
The position so far has proven to be extremely educational as I have learned much more about scientific literature, quantum chemistry and theory, and independent project structure. It was somewhat overwhelming at times due to the depth of the material that I had no previous experience with, but I have found myself being more and more comfortable with all of the science along the way. It is rewarding in ways like that and is the best way to see exactly how concepts that I learned in courses at Michigan are utilized in research every day and emerging solar technologies. I am very happy to be working for the Zimmerman Group here in the Chemistry Department in Ann Arbor and am looking forward to continuing this work for the coming months.