Student Stories: Emma Hargreaves

Emma Hargreaves worked in the Bousfield Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Lab over the summer studying and developing recyclable equivalents to plastic food packaging. The lab uses cellulose nanofibers, which Hargreaves explains as being really small paper pulp fibers, along with other recyclable materials, to try and find a combination that works.

“I was immediately hands on, which was really cool,” Hargreaves said. “On my first day, I was doing all the work beside Ph.D. student,  Mohammed [Al-Gharrawi], that he does every day, and by week two I was almost completely independent. He would just tell me what he needed done and I could do it.”

“We found some new information that he didn’t know yet. There’s a particular combination of CNF and polymer that [Al-Gharrawi] hadn’t tried, and it actually worked much better than any other options that we had,” Hargreaves said. “We are closer to a solution because of the tests that I did this summer.”

High School Internships

In an effort to energize Maine’s STEM pipeline, ME EPSCoR hosts an annual High School Internship Program that is open to any high school student in the state of Maine, with preference given to rising seniors. Each year, interns work alongside UMaine faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students on cutting-edge research ranging from chemistry to engineering and biology. Students create and present a scientific research poster outlining their research findings at a public final event.