Saturday, October 22, 2016

An Opportunity to Expand my Curiosity of Mars

An example of the X-ray spectra you’d see from a supermassive black hole vs. the one our new MSc Student Charissa Campbell was researching in her undergraduate studies. (Gallo, 2011, JRASC, 105,143) While many of our students have previous research experience, this is not true for all. Still it has been an added plus for our newest recruit from St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

by Charissa Campbell

After 5 years, I successfully finished my Bachelor of Science degree but I could not tell if I wanted to continue with my studies or not. The final year of my degree was intense, filled with 6 classes a semester, working a part-time job as well as completing my undergraduate thesis which involved weekly research. All I could think of during that time was why on earth I had decided to do this field of work. However, at the same time, receiving my Bachelor degree in May 2016 was a great accomplishment and I appreciated the degree much more.

To be honest though, when the time came around to apply to graduate studies, I had no idea if I wanted to repeat the process I was currently going through. Sleepless nights, typical college food and one assignment after another. Since applications were due in early 2016, I figured, why not apply anyways and see what happens.

Since I did my undergraduate thesis on high-energy astrophysics, this was all I knew, research wise. So I applied across Canada for high-energy research, specifically on Active Galactic Nuclei. However, one day I got an email from Dr. John Moores asking if I’d be interested in planetary science. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think or if I’d even respond as I didn’t know anything about planetary science since it wasn’t in any of my studies at Saint Mary’s university. But then the voice inside my head said I’d be crazy if I didn’t take any opportunity that came my way, especially since I have been interested in Mars research from a young age.

An Experimental Life

Abdelkrim Toumi is a new postdoctoral fellow here in the Lab who started with us in September. Originally from Corsica, he completed his PhD studies at Aix-Marseille in France.

By Abdelkrim Toumi

As a new member of the “Planetary Volatiles Laboratory” group for my first postdoctoral fellowship, everything was new to me when I arrived a month ago. First, the environment… I left my family, friends and my home country (France) to live and work in Canada. The day of my arrival (so after a very, very long trip), I put my feet on the American continent for the first time of my life. It was really a shocker! Everything is bigger here than in France: buildings, streets and even the trucks. It is pretty much a new scale life for me because I come from a little town in Corsica. Luckily for me, the French culture is also present here: from indications in the subway to the food I buy in the supermarket. That made me more comfortable.