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Working during the summer as a research assistant, new skills in familiar surroundings

Aaro Lampinen worked during the summer of 2020 as a research assistant. What's it like working at a laboratory? Let's hear more!
Aaro in protective lab gear pouring liquid into another bottle

Who are you and what are you studying? 

I’m Aaro Lampinen, a 21-year-old student at Aalto University. I'm originally from Tuusula and live now in Otaniemi. I’m studying my bachelors in chemistry and material science. On my free time I'm the host of Vuorimieskilta, the guild of materials and metallurgy. 

Why did you apply for a research assistant’s position? 

I had heard a lot of positive things about working as a research assistant from my friends prior to starting the job. They had told me how nice the working environment and the people are here. The job is in Otaniemi where I live, so it makes it easy to commute. The location is also great for me to keep up with my social life, since most of my friends live here.

I applied for the job by asking assistant professor Mari Lundström if they had any positions available for the summer at the Laboratory of Hydrometallurgy and Corrosion. I had met her a few times before during my studies.

What are your tasks? 

I mainly prepare samples, do information gathering, help preparing tests and do some simple data verification.

It's important that everything I do is made properly and precisely to maximize the validity of the results. It's essential to make sure the measurements follow the “script” in the research paper to the T. The work itself is fun and it gives you good experience in the field and lab work in general. 

What new things have you learned? 

I have been able to use in practice things I have learned from my studies, like how to conduct basic lab work. During my summer work I have learned how to use machines in the lab and the way they work. I have also learned about different tools used in experiments such as “Hull cell” and where to find scientific information. 

What have been the best partsof your summer work?  

The best parts of my summer work have been getting to know other researchers. Everyone in general have been very nice. I always enjoy our coffee breaks and lunch time together. Research work is a lot more writing and sitting in front of a computer than I initially thought. But other than that, the research methods and subjects are what I expected. Seeing the research experiments done in front of my eyes has made me lean more towards hydrolysis and particularly electrochemistry in my future studies.  

To whom would you recommend this job? 

People who are interested in the field or are unsure which field of study to choose. Also if you want to stay in Otaniemi for the summer.

This interview is conducted by Aleksanteri Kupi who has been working during the summer at the School of Chemical Engineering.

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