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Vacation students say au revoir

Vacation students say au revoir

Date Published: 27-Feb-17

ChemCentre hosted five local and international vacation students this summer. Giving students the opportunity to gain experience in a working analytical lab is an important part of ChemCentre’s culture, as it provides students with the opportunity to learn while allowing ChemCentre to discover talented young chemists, many of whom transition on to further work with us. At the end of their official vacation period, we caught up with (L to R) Adam, Lena, Vanessa, Hannah and Melissa.
Lena Imhof is currently studying chemistry and business at the University of Ulm in Germany. She started at ChemCentre six months ago as an international intern but transferred to a student officer (vacation student) for the last three months of her contract. Lena has been working in the organic chemistry laboratory, and with our business development manager, Stuart Rietkerk. “The hardest part was the work-related English vocabulary that I’d never been exposed to before,” Lena said, “but the people here have made it all worth it. It’s going to be so hard to go home, I’ll miss everyone”. 

Vanessa Ramos was our Murdoch Ritchie Scholarship winner this year, including a cash prize of $1250 and paid vacation work at ChemCentre. She is currently in third year chemistry at Murdoch university. Vanessa has been working within the forensic toxicology team. "The thing that surprised me the most is the volume of work that comes through; we currently have 3000 samples being processed,” Vanessa said. “It’s been a very good experience, especially since everyone here is so welcoming and helpful."

Adam Hill recently completed his chemistry degree at Murdoch University, and has been part of the physical evidence team in the forensic chemistry section during his time at ChemCentre. Adam has made an important contribution to ChemCentre’s national fibres database. “The thing that surprised me was the team ethic - everyone united towards a common goal which is something I hadn’t experienced in years of hospitality," Adam said. Adam leaves us to spend time in Canada, and we wish him the best on his future adventures.

Hannah Green studied chemistry and mathematics at UWA with honours in synthetic chemistry. She spent her vacation work in the illicit drugs team at ChemCentre. “It was really eye opening to see the nature, variety, and quantity of illicit drugs out there,” said Hannah. “This experience has kick-started my career and broadened my qualifications.” 

Melissa Dawes studied forensic biology, toxicology, and chemistry with honours at Murdoch University. She has worked both with the racing chemistry team and WA Police toxicology team over the summer period, which is a particularly busy time for both teams. “The biggest challenge was to absorb all the different areas of work and information in the beginning,” said Melissa, “but getting this exposure to lab practices and working within different teams has been such a beneficial experience.” 

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