UTEC students at University of Alberta

Last year I obtained a scholarship to do a research internship at the University of Alberta, which I started earlier this year. Currently, I am working at the Laboratory of Soft Materials and Devices, led by Professor Chung, where I work on a project to develop metamaterials using 3D printers. It is not my first time working in a laboratory in another country, but I knew that the experience would be different and that it would bring its own challenges.

The vision of each Supervisor is also different, as are their working methods. Dr. Chung gives his students a lot of freedom to trace the route of their research project on their own. This demands from the students a greater responsibility, review of literature and many skills. In the short time that I have been working in this laboratory, I have learned many things, both in academic and personal fieIds. I would like to share some of them:

1. Work hard, play hard. It is a phrase that my REPU program mentor always repeated. At that time, I did not understand it well because my supervisor's demand that time was not much compared to the demands I have now, even more than in UTEC. I have learned that organization is important to achieve the established deadlines. However, my supervisor has told me that he always tries to finish his work during weekdays so he can relax on weekends and do other activities. He invited me to do the same, after all, both he and I are in another country and there is too much to learn. I have followed his advice since I arrived and, along with a good organization of finances and cooking nights to save, I have been able to discover new places with my friends who have also obtained the ELAP Scholarship.

2. Enjoy the path Several students who work in the laboratory suffer from great stress. They have reached the point of crying in front of the teacher and having to attend the free service offered by the University to support its students. One day I had the opportunity to talk with them outside the laboratory and they told me that, although they still felt the same pressure as before and many times the frustration of not knowing what to do, they had learned to do their best, concentrate, and enjoy the things they do. They began to make new friends, enjoy the coffee mornings to wake up and the small conversations while doing the tests, the mysterious episodes that happens in all the laboratories and the Wednesdays of chicken wings. I have spent sleepless nights to be able to comply with the deadlines and there were days when I had to stay late in the laboratory to finish some work, but I have learned to enjoy the little details of each day.

Danae Chipoco Haro

Energy Engineering Student