Tuesday, August 2, 2016

URSP Student Highlights: Brian Schnoor

Hello, my name is Brian Schnoor and I am a bioengineering major working in the Nanotechnology Lab with Dr. Salvador-Morales.  I am currently working on a project applying nanotechnology to agriculture and weed control. I hope to develop a Nanoherbicide that will provide more effective protection against harmful weeds while avoiding the major environmental problems caused by the widespread use of herbicides. Current herbicides are washed into major waterways as runoff, contaminating the waterways and killing many of the native plants. By encapsulating this herbicide in a nanoparticle, I hope to reduce these environmental problems.
            Working on this project has been a great experience for me. I have learned so much from practical lab experience. Along with basic techniques, this project forced me to learn how to design experiments, properly analyze data, schedule my time wisely, and present my results in a professional manner. I cannot thank Dr. Salvador-Morales enough for mentoring me through this project. In addition to teaching me lab procedures and monitoring my work in the lab, Dr. Salvador-Morales was also very active in guiding me through the finer points of managing my own project. We sit down on a regular basis and have invaluable discussions on the progress of my project, what information is still missing, and a plan for how to fill in the holes in my project. The experience of actually working in a lab and tackling these issues has given me an education beyond what I have learned in my class work.
            And the URSP program has added another layer on top of this education. Between the grant proposal, and the poster presentation, I have learned a great deal about presenting and explaining my research in a professional setting. Additionally, the URSP seminars have connected me to some of the peers and mentors I can turn to for advice about my research project. Overall, I cannot be more grateful for this opportunity to conduct research at Mason because it has given me a practical, hands-on experience to enhance my education.