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PROFILE: Undergraduate Researcher, Hayden Estabrook

A HEAD START : Queen’s chemical engineering student, Hayden Estabrook, is earning valuable research experience that will give him a leg up once he completes his undergraduate degree. 

 

By James Hubay, FEAS communications intern, with files from Matt Mills, FEAS communications staff

A research career is the end goal for fourth-year biochemical engineering student, Hayden Estabrook. So, with the option to do a research thesis rather than a capstone design project, he opted to do both.

Estabrook is a member of civil engineering professor Pascale Champagne’s undergraduate research team. Working in the lab alongside Master’s students, Estabrook is gaining insight into what it is like to be a grad student at Queen’s.

“It’s crazy how different it is than the experiments you do in an undergraduate lab course,” he says. “This is more relaxed and less structured.”

His research group works with a potential platform molecule to aid in the development of new biofuels.

“A biofuel is typically made by taking a natural organic mass and converting it into fuel through a chemical reaction,” says Estabrook. “The new molecule we’re looking at may have a higher potential for triggering unstudied reactions.”

These studies could yield a reaction which exhibits the properties necessary to begin creating a new biofuel, further pushing the development of renewable energy.

Having the opportunity to work alongside knowledgeable grad students and make a noticeable impact in your field as an undergraduate student is an extremely valuable experience.

“Starting to look for a professor early is the best advice I can give to anyone considering doing undergraduate research,” says Estabrook. “I’d also recommend applying for Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funding as it gives you the chance to see a real research environment and gets your foot in the door for further research opportunities.”

Learn more about undergraduate research opportunities and find ways you can participate here and apply for your own Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship (USSRF) here.