February Summary: Finishing Data Collection

February was a very busy month for me. I’ve been trying to wrap up the data collection I need for my thesis, so I can start focusing primarily on writing and editing. It helps that I’ve written similar material for the paper we’re trying to publish, but I know that the deadline will come sooner than I expect! I should be close to finishing all the experiments now, although every time I say that, I think of something else that needs to be done. A recent photochemistry experiment with my catalyst saw continued hydrogen production at approximately the same rate for several days, which was very exciting and indicates the stability of the system.  Currently, I’m working on redoing a few fluorescence quenching experiments to see if I can improve the previous results. I also might have to perform another oxidative quenching time point experiment using an even lower concentration of sacrificial donor.

Recently, I’ve spent several weekends away from Williamsburg visiting graduate schools. Although they take away time I could be spending in lab, these grad school visits have been a great opportunity to share my research with other chemistry students. Learning how to explain my research clearly and succinctly is good practice for when I have to defend my thesis in a couple of months. I’m also presenting my work at the Honors Colloquium at William and Mary this week. To make this presentation, I had to organize my data into graphs and tables, which I can later use as figures in my thesis. Additionally, I know that this chance to give a talk and field questions about my research will help to improve my confidence in talking about science.