Lessons from the Research Lab: Anita Sanchez

This summer, several students that participated in San Diego State University’s Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) program are conducting research throughout North America and blogging about their experiences. The MARC program supports students from underrepresented groups as they pursue STEM Ph.D.s and research careers.

Anita Sanchez 
ReNUWIt’s Research Experience for Undergraduates Program 
University of California, Berkeley
According to U.S. News and World Report, the University of California, Berkeley is ranked as the number one graduate school for environmental engineering. Therefore, being accepted as one of the 200 applicants in the ReNUWIt Research Experience for Undergraduates program to conduct summer research is definitely an opportunity I could not pass up. Since I have never left home for more than three days, being away for two months seemed like a lifetime, but I knew it was a change I needed. I was happy to find out that one of my lab mates and good friend, Lorelay Mendoza, was accepted into the summer research program, as well. Since I was not familiar with the Bay Area, I knew she would help me navigate my way around the campus and city. From my first day in Dr. Lisa Alvarez-Cohen’s lab, asking questions and critical thinking have been skills of the utmost importance. My mentor, graduate student Jennifer Lawrence, and I set up a plan for the two months that I will be conducting research with her. I immediately liked her ambition and attitude. I knew that she was the type of mentor that I needed and could see myself working successfully with. By my second day, we were already working to create the set-up for our experiment in the lab. My project for the summer is focused on energy-positive wastewater treatment and resource recovery. Therefore, I will be examining anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), a biological treatment process meant to remove reactive nitrogen from wastewater effluent. Since anammox is an improved and efficient method compared to conventional nitrification and denitrification processes, this is currently a hot topic in the environmental engineering world. I know that with Jennifer as my mentor, I will learn what it takes to become a successful graduate student and researcher. Conducting research and making new lab friends throughout my first week has brought me great excitement, as has touring the city and finding out where are the popular places to go. Aside from trying out a couple really good Indian and Thai food places, two of the other REU summer interns and I explored a rock climbing gym near Berkeley. Hopefully, within the next weeks that I’m in the Bay Area, I’ll be able to check out San Francisco.


Originally published by SDSU News Team


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