It has been roughly four months since my return from studying abroad in Northern Europe and I am still reeling in gratitude over the experience. First, I want to express my sincere thanks for the acts of kindness and good will shown to me during my stay at Chalmers Institute of Technology. The colleagues and acquaintances I made there soon became some of the greatest friends I have ever had and my life is richer for having the opportunity to know them.
During my time abroad, I was able to work on multiple manuscripts as well as learn valuable biorefinery operational and optimization processes. I spoke at industries and academies as well as at the United States Embassy in Stockholm. And it was a chance to explore a new culture.
Academically, I learned to perform the LignoBoost™ process, a valuable lignin precipitation methodology. I implemented this technique to isolate samples for novel ultrasonic pretreatments designed to improve the chemical nature of lignin as a precursor for carbon fiber development. In addition, I collaborated with two Swedish colleagues and assisted them with NMR characterizations of uniquely treated biomass. For a collaboration with a colleague back in America, I also learned how to measure the pore volumes of lignocellulose powder using a mercury porosimeter. All of these dynamic projects resulted in published scientific articles and a wealth of laboratory experience.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience in Sweden, which would not have been possible without the generosity of many folks at school and in my general neighborhood. Thank you to the shopping clerk (Morgan) who patiently endured my first conversation in Swedish. Thanks also to Suss who taught me how to use "behoove" and "traduce" correctly in a sentence and kept pushing me to eat exotic Swedish delicacies—against my better judgment. My thanks to all—it was an academic and cultural pleasure.
Tyrone Wells, Jr is a PhD Graduate Researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology's Renewable Bioproducts Institute. He is graduating December 2014 with a degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Paper Science & Engineering, and is interested in applying his analytical talents and strong public speaking acumen for industry. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tyronewells. Tyrone’s study abroad was made possible by the Gunnar and Lillian Nicholson Graduate Fellowship and Faculty Exchange Fund