Superfund Research Program
In the summer of 2010, Colby Sawyer College's Lauren Hendricks worked in the Trace Element Analysis Core Facility at Dartmouth College. This was Lauren's first real encounter with analytical chemistry, and she learned general lab skills as well as additional skills particularly suited to low level analysis of trace metals. She gained knowledge of how to prepare samples for inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis, operation and calibration of instruments for a total organic carbon analysis and also learned some of the theory behind these instruments as well as how to run them.
Lauren also had the opportunity to assist on a trip to collect samples in the field. To prepare for this experience, she read many papers on the techniques that she would be using to collect samples and how to take the necessary field measurements like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean hands/dirty hands method of sample collection and assisted in sediment sample collection using this method.
Lauren says learning lab techniques and skills was a good introduction to analytical methods of analysis. Working in a clean lab opened her eyes to many of the concerns and precautions taken to avoid contamination of samples.