BTE Student Stories

Jose Hernandez-Morales

Businesses often say young people lack the skills and work experience for their first job. Yet a young person can’t get experience without that first job. Internships are often the gateway for young people.

Jose Hernandez-Morales, BTE-New Brunswick, learned valuable skills and work ethic through the American Chemical Society’s Project SEED.  The summer program provides high school students internships for 40 hours a week at a university research lab under a professor that specializes in a field of science.  Jose interned at Rutgers University’s Busch campus for Dr. Daniel Seidel of the Seidel Research Group with one of Dr. Seidel’s senior graduate students, Chang Min, serving as his mentor.

Over the course of this program, Jose learned laboratory safety, what to do in cases of chemical emergencies, techniques used in most laboratories, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) nomenclature, the names of laboratory apparatus, how to analyze scientific data, how to write a formal scientific report/paper and the struggle a research scientist faces in trying to interpret and explain their data. This experience was both rare and rewarding; it isn’t often that a high school student can learn graduate school level subjects and participate in research that can change the pharmaceutical industry. From Project SEED, Jose gained a better understanding of how graduate school functions as well as what careers he might like to pursue or avoid.