Meet Mercedes Loor:
Mercedes Loor is in her final year at the University of Guelph studying Biochemestry, with aspirations in a career in R&D for Human and Environmental Health. After starting her university career in Biological Sciences, she found her path to Biochemistry and realized it was a field that encompassed what she loved about biology, chemistry, and everything in between. Mercedes found Work Study through Experience Guelph, which lead to her most recent position as a Research Assistant with the Food Science Department. Mercedes shares more about her experience with the Work Study program and gives advice for other Gryphons looking to get research experience.
What was your experience like with the Work Study program? What did you do?
“The work study program is a great opportunity to gain work experience while studying full-time as a student. From my experience as a research assistant in a food science lab, I conducted research on a variety of food and environmental samples, assisted graduate students in their research, and learnt useful techniques that became routine in carrying out research independently.”
“This opportunity allowed me to explore the field of research in food safety and disease prevention, as well as nurture useful skills and techniques for my future. In the lab, we always have incoming projects from various companies such as Maple Leaf Foods, Sobeys, and more that focus on improving shelf-life and preventing foodborne illnesses. From this, I learnt the importance of health in food safety, and my work has really help me to expand on my self-delegation and quick-learning skills to complete multiple projects in a short time frame. With the help and support of my amazing mentors through this experience, I was also offered to extend my work experience through the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award as a summer student in the same lab!”
How did your Work Study help you with your thoughts about your career?
“The Work Study program allowed me to tackle the day-to-day of conducting research in a lab and organizing my findings, as well as the techniques and safety involved in this. This gave me the experience I needed to recognize how fascinating scientific research can be and the curiosity to pursue it as a career.”
What is your advice to other U of G students looking to get research experience?
“It is never too early or too late to start looking for research experience within or outside of the University of Guelph. When applying for positions, find ones that align with your interests and express learning outcomes that can help you grow in that field and as an individual. I began my experience with the Work-study program near the end of my third year and, since then, have gained valuable techniques in research and expanded my network significantly as I approach graduation.”