Dr. Moser’s Workshop

This was the final communications workshop. This week the focus was preparing for a real interview. It was the real deal. We each took turns interviewing and being interviewed by each other. As usual I waited as long as possible to take my turn and to my luck I got to go last. Ryoma began with, “so Matt, tell me a little bit about yourself.” Now, for the third time, I think I got a pretty good response. I stumbled a few times, but overall I felt more confident. I even remembered to smile, just like Dr. Moser emphasized to us. A few more questions came, like “how would you get off to a good start at this job?”, and before I knew it, the interview was over.

This was an exciting end to the workshops with Dr. Moser. I felt like I learned a lot from Week 1 to Week 8. There is still a lot of practice to be done before going in for a real interview, and certainly a lot more research on the company’s specific characteristics, but I can say I am more confident about my professionalism than I was in Week 1. Overall, I think the best thing I learned from the workshops was to relax. Ultimately, an interview is just a conversation about yourself. It’s not really anything to get too worked up about. The problem is when you really don’t want to mess up, and the internal pressure builds. However, if I prepare then there is nothing to worry about.

Lab Work

Every week I feel like I am focusing on a new topic in the lab. This week was no different. This week’s topic: electrophoretic deposition. Soyun had me read papers on it to get a better understanding of the concept. It is a common method of coating a conductive surface by placing it in a mixture and applying electricity.

Illustration of Electrophoretic Deposition from one of Dr. Hong’s papers

So later on in the week, we ran a few tests to see if we could successfully deposit PVDF-TrFE(a material of interest) onto an electrode. We used aluminum electrodes and copper tape in our initial trial. We made the suspension(like a solution but particles are visible) from isopropyl alcohol and PVDF-TrFE. Unfortunately, we were not seeing any results so we continued to read academic papers to find out better methods.

Tip Sonicator to evenly disperse molecules in suspension

PVDF-TrFE sample that we used

Our initial setup for experimentation

We found that silicon and stainless steel are two other materials used as the electrodes. Soyun ordered the stainless steel, and we found silicon that we could use in the meantime. The trial with silicon also failed to deposit anything, so we will continue next week with more trials using steel.

Excursions

This week Jingshu took me and Nathan to a new restaurant for a Chinese dish called Malatang. It was like Mochi but with Chinese food instead of frozen yogurt. We filled a big bowl with anything we wanted from a salad/meat bar and then paid by weight. Then we handed over the bowl to the chef for it to be returned a few minutes later, piping hot with a dark red broth drowning all the toppings we had picked. It was incredible. Next time, I will probably go for a less spicy broth and try some different toppings.

Malatang with level 3 spicy broth(5 levels total)

Tuesday(7/27), I got a glimpse of a stunning sunset around 8pm. I was just out for a little exercise when I noticed a guy taking a picture of the sky. I turned around and was amazed at the colors I saw. The picture is not doing it justice, but I’ll show you anyway.

Nice sunset in Daejeon

Two days later, Thursday, I had my first one-on-one Korean class. My friend Chi Hao introduced me to the International Center’s free Korean classes. Despite only being here for a few more weeks, I decided to give it a try. There is a letter in Korean (ㄹ) that does not have an exact pronunciation in English. It is somewhere in between the English ‘l’ and ‘r’ sound. When my teacher, 이 승산, explained this to me, she drew a picture of the human mouth to explain where the tongue touches when ㄹ is pronounced. She said it was a terrible picture, but I found it helpful so we had a good laugh when I pulled out my phone to snap a picture of it.

My Korean teacher’s depiction of the human mouth when sounding the Korean letter

This weekend I did not do any traveling, but I did make a new friend, Yongmin. He is letting me borrow a bike for my last few weeks, so that is how we met. We had dinner together on Saturday night, played a card game, and talked for hours about history, family, and cultural differences. Yongmin is incredibly knowledgeable, so when I say we talked, I mean I mostly listened while he spoke. It was an enjoyable way to spend the weekend.