The Final Post: Concluding my research, but not my promotion of ecotherapy

Alongside my research with Dr. Ibes at the Parks Research Lab, I have been interning for Wildrock Nature Playscape, a non-profit in Crozet, Virginia. Via this internship, I will be leading an ecotherapy retreat for college students. The goal of this retreat is to teach college students what ecotherapy is, and then help them plan an ecotherapy initiative on their college campus. For more information, please contact me at dcspitz@email.wm.edu, as William & Mary students are welcome on this retreat. Most major schools in Virginia will eventually feature an ecotherapy initiative on their campus. Thus, my research at the Parks Research Lab this summer has aided me in promoting ecotherapy to others.

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Natalie Curtis Burlin: A Controversial Legacy

 

 

natalie curtis burlin

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Concluding thoughts on summer research of auto paints

Step four of my summer research plan is to conclude what I’ve learned over the summer and plan for the coming semester. I’ve learned a lot this summer about car paints and what research in a chemistry lab is all about. I learned that auto paints are way more complicated then they appear and that auto paints have evolved just as cars have evolved over time. During the last couple weeks, I discovered through some literature review a test for a base knowledge of what auto paint is made up of. This test also proved to be a helpful extraction agent and gave some distinctive spectra when paired with SERS. When I head back to the lab next semester I will further explore this method of extraction and see if I can truly identify and reproduce the characteristic spectra for the manufacturer auto paints. Once I have finished developing the method for the manufacturer paints, I will finally move on to paint samples straight from a car. I can’t wait to get back into the lab and continue exploring new ideas and developing experimental methods.

Musings on Thomas Edison and Auto Paint Analysis

Step three of my summer research plan is to identify a characteristic spectrum for each manufacturer auto paint sample. We have two different auto paints samples one from Honda and the other from Toyota. To begin the initial testing I performed a normal Raman scan without silver nanoparticles of each paint. One was found to be normal Raman active and the other was not. Normal Raman active means that without silver nanoparticles I was able to identify a characteristic spectrum. After the normal Raman scans, I performed a simple SERS test on each paint. A simple SERS test is done by only applying silver nanoparticles to the paint sample. This yielded some results but not as distinctive of a characteristic spectrum as I would like. In order to get a more characteristic spectrum, I started to develop an extraction method. The extraction method, in theory, would coax out the chromophore or pigment into the solvent making it easier to see a characteristic spectrum with SERS. However, this has not been the case. Auto paint matrixes are extremely complex with multiple additives, binders, resin, and pigments. Due to their complexity I have not been able to fully extract the chromophore, but I have been able to slowly breaking down the matrix with some simple solvents. This has allowed me to see some characteristic spectrum for the two paints, but again not to the distinctiveness that we would like. Research is a complicated process. I often like to take comfort in Thomas Edison’s wise words that he said when he was inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I have not failed either. I’ve just found five ways that won’t extract a paint pigment.

The Steps Towards Data Analysis

Hello again!  Now that we are all up to speed on how I gathered my data and what I’ve been doing for the past summer it’s time to see what I did with the data that I collected.  Once again I’m looking into the effects of differential timing and duration of mercury exposure on beak redness in male zebra finches.

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