Over the summer, Lakehead University gives students the opportunity to gain experience as research interns.
These interns work alongside faculty members and assist them with their current research projects. I had a chance to speak with two Orillia campus interns, Hannah Hancock and Cassandra Sinclair, who are working with Dr. Nanda Kanavillil on his research in Lagoon City.
What program are you currently taking?
Hannah: I am going into my third year of the Environmental Sustainability program.
Cassandra: I am a 2015 graduate from the HBASc Interdisciplinary Studies program and am beginning my Master of Science in Biology at Lakehead Orillia in September.
What kind of research are you doing for Dr. Kanavillil?
Hannah: We are working on the Lagoon City project, which was started in 2014 and will continue until 2018. Our research involves sampling water on a bi-weekly basis in order to monitor water quality within the canals of Lagoon City.
Cassandra: The goal of the research is to see if there are any water quality issues, and if so, address these issues and figure out solutions.
Hannah: This research also demonstrates the kind of involvement that Lakehead Orillia has within the community, as we have been collaborating with local residents and have a great relationship with Ramara Township.
Why did you want to work as a research intern?
Cassandra: Through this opportunity, I am able to gain invaluable experience in the lab and with lab equipment that I didn’t get during the school year.
Hannah: For me, it has taken the knowledge and education that I’ve gained from courses at Lakehead and realistically applied them in a practical sense. It makes what I’ve learned tangible and gives me an idea of what I can do with my degree in the future.
Can you describe your experience working with Lakehead faculty and community members?
Hannah: It has been extremely positive! I’ve not only made professional connections but also a lot of friends. The people that I’ve worked with so far have taught me so much through their experience.
Cassandra: I love the school and the community that it is a part of so much that I’m returning here in the fall for my graduate studies. The faculty at Lakehead are very motivated and enthusiastic about doing research that can benefit the local community.
What has been your favourite thing about being a research intern so far?
Hannah: I didn’t expect sampling and doing fieldwork to be as much fun as it is. The university experience is typically about sitting in class and reading books, but by being a research intern you get the chance to get out there and get your hands dirty.
Cassandra: I agree!