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Internship Profile: Crystal Nattoo, Electrical Engineering ’19 (UCF NanoBioSensors and Systems Laboratory)

Name: Crystal Nattoo
Class: 2019
Hometown: Sunrise, Fla.
Degree: Electrical Engineering

Internship location (Company Name and Location): UCF NanoBioSensors and Systems Laboratory, Orlando, Fla.

How did you find this internship?
I found this internship on the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) website.

Describe your internship.
I spent 10 weeks in a REU at UCF doing research on bio-related nanoscience. My lab specifically used makerspace equipment to create devices with comparable characteristics to cleanroom fabricated devices. I spent the summer working on optimizing 3D Printed Microelectrode Arrays (MEA) – a device used to interface between electrogenic cells like neurons and a computer for reading the signals given off by the cells. Some applications for these devices include disease-on-a-chip research and other in vitro cell research. Near the end of the 10 week program, I created a research poster and wrote a paper explaining my design process and results. Due to the success of my project, the paper will very possibly be published in a science journal.

What did you learn at CoE that has helped you at your summer internship?

I had to read a lot of reference papers while writing my paper. Knowing how to read scientific articles quickly and being able to extract the relevant information for my topic was vital. Additionally, being able to understand how to communicate with serial peripherals really helped me create the Labview executable I needed to electroplate my MEA devices.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at this program?
This summer, I learned the importance of not getting stuck on a problem for too long. Sometimes in research, nothing you try works out and it can be very frustrating. If nothing is working, it just means that you need to do more research into what could possibly be the issue. Even though this process can be time-consuming, the feeling that you get when you finally get the results you were hoping for makes everything worth it.

Why has this been a good experience for you?
This experience has helped me by giving me research experience in a new field and making me an even better candidate for graduate schools in the fall.

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