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Lyon College student chooses the lab over the sea

Normally this Lyon College student would head to Orlando, Florida, to spend his summer relaxing at home, but this summer senior chemistry and math double-major Colin Gopaul traveled to North Carolina to complete a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) before finishing out his senior year. 

These REUs are essentially competitive summer research programs for undergraduates studying science, engineering, or mathematics.

Gopaul described an REU as, “an opportunity for undergraduate students to be able to go to other institutions to do research there under a new professor.”

There is a fairly pain-free application process for each of these REU opportunities, however, due to the competitive nature of the programs, applying to just one REU is not enough. 

“To land the REU I had to apply with a simple application as well as getting recommendations from some of my current professors,” said Gopaul.

He continued, “However, REUs in general are extremely competitive so I had to apply to multiple programs to be admitted to some since there are only 10 students taken into each program. Even though most of the programs will receive at least 100 applicants.”

All of his hard work and dedication pursuing an REU opportunity for the summer paid off when he was accepted to complete a chemistry based REU at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. 

While he is completing this opportunity at East Carolina University he will be working under professors there to conduct anti-cancer research with phosphorescence, which is something a little different than the research he has previously conducted at Lyon College.

Gopaul hopes that the research experience he has under his belt will help guide him through this REU opportunity. He credits his classes and research labs at Lyon College for already providing him with several important skills. 

“Lyon prepared me to research during my REU due to the rigor that is put into every class at Lyon College. Having the ability to do some undergraduate research at Lyon also helped me learn some of the techniques that you use in a research lab compared to a normal classroom setting,” said Gopaul. 

As a student who is fairly active in research at Lyon College, Gopaul is looking forward to all of the new aspects of research that he will get to experience while completing this REU, as well as improving on and learning new techniques that he can bring back with him. 

“I am excited to work on a new project under a new professor as well as using instruments that Lyon College does not have,” said Gopaul.

He continued, “I am looking to take away the experience from researching in a new lab as well as some of the techniques being used here whether it being in the instrumentation or simple wet lab techniques.”

Upon completing his REU and returning to campus for the start of the fall semester, Gopaul will be working to complete his chemistry and math major and begin to prepare for life after graduation from Lyon College next spring.