Planning for the future can be scary, especially because I’m not sure which direction my life will take me. Looking into which Fulbright program I would like to apply, I struggled to decide whether I should focus my search on Latin America, where I would be able to improve my Spanish skills but would only be able to do research rather than earn a master’s degree, or on Europe, where there are programs in which I could earn a master’s degree. Because I’m planning to graduate in the Fall 2018 semester, this adds another layer of difficulty, as most programs begin in August or September.
I initially decided to apply to the Chile Science Initiative, where I would perform a 9-month research project and be affiliated with a research professor in a Chilean University. It seemed perfect, as this program was set to begin in March after I graduate. However, as I began reaching out to professors in Chile, I realized how little real research experience I’ve had. I then decided to consider other options while still working on my Chile application.
When I started researching programs in Europe, I stumbled upon a master’s degree program at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland in which I could pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering for Water Treatment—the exact area in which I hope to be working and researching. This program will begin in August 2019, giving me the chance the work a coop or internship during the Spring after I graduate. I am very excited about this opportunity and will be working on ways to optimize my application. This summer I’ll be doing research regarding water purification using Moringa-functionalized sand filters through an REU program at Penn State, which is a good step toward pursuing this M.S.