CO-OP Student of the Month of September 2018
For my first CO-OP term, I decided to work at Professor Tom Woo’s computational chemistry lab. His work interests me because it is a less traditional way to do chemistry, one that isn’t taught in chemistry courses at the University, except the one by Professor. Woo. It’s the perfect combination of math, computer programming and chemistry.
I started this job with no programming experience, so most of my time was spent learning how to code in Python and use the Linux shell. I feel very fortunate and thankful to Professor Woo for sending me to the Compute Canada Summer School at the University of Toronto for a week in June, where I learned about implementing machine learning and parallel programming in scientific research. The knowledge I gained this summer is truly valuable.
The lab develops state-of-the-art molecular simulation techniques to model the carbon capture and storage (CCS) processes. During the work term, I took over various projects of past PhD and master’s group members that study the performance of different metal organic frameworks in CCS. I also practised my coding skill by working on improving a Python script written by another group member to automate a repeating task.
This placement introduced me to a field that is becoming increasingly relevant to and applies across many other fields. The work was challenging and really motivated me to keep learning.
I worked with a great group of people who were experts in their field and very helpful. Every day at work was more exciting than the last. From this experience, I would recommend everyone get out of their comfort zone and work in a field they aren’t familiar with—they’ll find new opportunities and maybe even a new passion!