My name is Oriana Chegwidden and I’m from Woodbridge, Connecticut. In September I’ll enter my senior year at Haverford as a chemistry major. I’m working in Helen’s lab this summer and we have a lot of cool projects in the works. I’m working on investigating the fate of oil in a salt marsh on the Delaware river. There have been four major oil spills in the river over the past 35 years and we’re wondering what happened to that oil. Are there still remnants of each spill? Based on the remains of the contamination, what can we say about the spill conditions, remediation techniques or the marsh’s responses to each oil? It’s exciting work, particularly in light of the current catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
As for the highlights so far…
1. Getting the core! Though our spirits sank lower and lower as every site we went to proved impossible to get a core, we rejoiced when we found a site with great mud. That core has since become a disturbingly significant part of my life. There’s a picture below of me at the site!
2. Getting results. We DEFINITELY have some oil in our samples! Now let’s figure out which spill(s) that oil belongs to and what the differences between the residual oils mean.
3. Playing with the rotoevaporator. A friend? A foe? The jury is still out.
4. (A non-lab highlight) Biking down the Schuylkill River Trail to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
5. Listening to NPR in lab. Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep make invaluable contributions to our lab progress.
We’ll make sure to keep you updated on lab adventures.
Until next time,