Sunday, May 31, 2015

Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love! When I woke up this morning, I had the easy decision of choosing which box of cereal to open to enjoy with the milk Lyle got for me at the store last night: Cheerios, Raisin Bran, or Lucky Charms. Its good to start off with a bit of luck, especially when reading the scientific journal articles my lab group sent me.

Around noon, I asked who wanted to grab lunch at Wawa and picnic on Penn's campus. Jenna, Lyle, Michelle, and Kevin joined me (half of our REU group). For some, it was their first Wawa experience. Watching them order with ease on the touch screens at the sandwich counters seemed magical. We found a quiet picnic table and had a relaxing lunch. 

After lunch, we strolled around Penn's campus, visiting the mini Love statue and our friend Ben Franklin. 

There was no need for the old trolly system today - it was a nice day for walking. Our group was eager to see the Penn Nano/Bio Interface Center building. Following the campus map -and weak sense of direction I had from presenting at the Nano/Bio Interface Center for Penn Nano Days - we reached our destination.

Back at the IHouse, I focused on finishing the journal articles my lab group had sent me. In the afternoon, members from our REU group met the five French Masters students who are part of the GIANT/MINATEC exchange program with the Penn Nano/Bio Interface Center. Our groups engaged in conversation and then went grocery shopping together at The Fresh Grocer. Jenna and I shopped together and we are officially set for this week's meals.

For dinner, we went to an inexpensive Mexican/American restaurant Copabanana. Cooking meals this week will be fun but it was nice to dine in the city tonight.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I squeezed my Philly Phanatic stuffed animal into the pile of clothes, cooking supplies, and bedding I had set aside to be packed for Philly. As my parents helped me load the car, I felt excited that I would be living at the International House Philadelphia for the next 10 weeks. I said goodbye to South Jersey and to my nephew Nash; Philly here I come!

The University of Pennsylvania Nano/Bio Interface Center REU is providing housing for me along with the 9 other Summer Student Scholars and 4 international French Masters students at the IHouse. According to the IHouse website, IHouse Philly is "a multicultural residential center, a source of distinctive programming, and the embodiment of an ideal." As a resident, I look forward to meeting scholars from around the world and engaging in some of the IHouse programs.

When we arrived, I met Kevin and Jenna, fellow REU Scholars. Moving in was a smooth process and - after decorating - the apartment feels like a nice new home for the summer. 

Once moved in, I briefly explored the basement facilities. (Un)fortunately for my floormates, the IHouse has two music practice rooms which means I will use them for my bagpipe practicing. In the basement near the practice rooms there is the laundry facility which is equipped with vending machines. The IHouse is very thoughtful, in one of the machines there was many condoms and 1 packet of Tide detergent. 

After unpacking, my parents and I went to dinner with Jenna and her mom. Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, we ate wonderful Ethiopian food at a restaurant called Dahlak.

Thanks mom and dad for moving me in. Tonight is ending but my summer adventures in Philly are just beginning! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This summer, I look forward to conducting research for 10 weeks as part of the Nano/Bio Interface Center REU at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The NBIC REU Summer Student Scholars will (according to the program website):
  • Participate in a 10-week program designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to work with scientists on the cutting-edge of nanoscale research. 
  • Experience for students to perform summer research working with a mentor in an NBIC investigator's laboratory for the duration of the program. 
  • Gain lab research experience and participate in seminars, paper discussions, career sessions and skills workshops.
  • Earn a stipend and be housed within walking distance of the university. 

As a 2015 Summer Student Scholar, I am spending 10 weeks researching at the University of Pennsylvania. I will be interning in the Drndic lab working on the project “Development of nanoscale structures for electronic transport and nano-electric applications.” It will be exciting to learn and conduct experiments using electron beam lithography and cleanroom techniques to make nanoscale devices using wafer processing, chip fabrication, transmission electron microscopy, and other materials characterization techniques. Starting June 1st, I begin in the lab and I am moving into my apartment at the International House Philly this weekend (May 30th). 

I am hyped for the opportunity to learn new knowledge in the lab that is applicable to my endeavors as an engineering student and my interest in medical research.