Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the Games Begin!!!

As far as I can remember, I was never a big fan of sports.

I never had a favorite soccer team or watched NBA play offs. Believe it or not, after living in Canada for 5 years, I am not even sure how many players a hockey team has!!! However, there is one sports event I have never missed: The Olympics.

I find the idea of the Olympics fascinating. It is a symbol of peace for all 5 continents to come together, put aside their differences and bond for a single purpose. During Olympics all nations come together, enjoying the ceremony, watch the games, learn about other nations and once again remember to share their similarities and celebrate the differences.

Being a feminist, this year’s Olympics games are extra special to me; for the first time in the history of the Games, there will be a female entrant from every competing nation. For example, Saudi Arabia,alongside Brunei and Qatar, has consented to allow female delegates to compete in the 2012 Summer Games.

Women have come a long way since the beginning of the games. In 1900, only a total of 11 women participated in the Olympics (for the very first time!) but as of 2012, every country competing in the July 27-Aug. 12 Olympics will be represented by both male and female athletes.

Joseph Veloce, Mac Engineering grad
Joseph Veloce, Mac Engineering grad .
Watch the games and don’t miss out on this very special event!

Join us to cheer for Joseph Veloce, a recent grad of McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, who is competing in Canada's Olympic track cycling team. 

You can read the story of his life as an Engineering student and a professional athlete here: . Also keep up with McMaster athletes in Olympics by visiting

I'm so excited for the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies today! Let the games begin!!  ~Mehrdokht

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Keeping an Eye on Things

When did it get to be the middle of July!? I remember back in May thinking, "Wow! I have so much time to relax and do nothing!" Well I can safely say that with work and summer school, I have been kept very busy. And that's just the way I like it :)

I have been fortunate enough to be put on a very interesting project at work. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs I am working with in Dr. Heather Sheardown's chemical engineering lab this summer, and we deal with creating novel ways to treat ocular diseases. My project is dealing with delivery of drugs to the retina, the back portion of the eye, using fibrin gels. If you have taken grade 11 or 12 biology you may recall that fibrin is a protein found in our blood that forms clots when we are wounded to stop bleeding. We are borrowing the principles of fibrin clot formation and are using these fibrin clots to form gels that can could potentially deliver medication to the eye. The picture below shows a fibrin clot I made in the lab. As you can see it's fairly opaque and not ideal for use in the eye, but that's the beauty of experimentation! Now I get to figure out why it looks like this and how to fix it.
Fibrin gel made in the lab combining fibrin and thrombin protein molecules.
When I'm not hard at work, I love to spend my time outside and enjoy the weather! Hamilton is known as the "City of Waterfalls", and with more than 120 waterfalls in the area there's nothing more enjoyable than hiking up the trails to the top of the falls for a picnic and some fresh air. If heights aren't your thing you can always wander through the Royal Botanical Gardens, or even see some exotic birds in the Aviary located near McMaster campus. Or if you just want to beat the heat, Port Dover is only an hour away and the beach there is awesome! For those of you who are adventurous like me, you could always join the McMaster Outdoors Club and go on camping trips around Ontario. A few weeks ago I went on a hiking trip to the Bruce Peninsula, and it was incredible! Such amazing sights and experiences with great people.
All of the trippers posing for a photo atop a cliff along the Bruce Peninsula.
So, whatever you're doing this summer, I hope you're all making the most of it!


Friday, July 13, 2012

It Feels like a Fireball Outside

“You’re hotter than a bunsen burner!”

I got that note from the McMaster Engineering Society (MES) representative on Valentine’s Day in my first year of engineering. All the Eng I students in my calculus class got similar notes from the MES, and I remember laughing while everyone compared them. I have to say though, with the heat wave this summer, sometimes I really do feel like I might spontaneously combust.

Relaxing after May@Mac
Open House this year
Luckily, for the past two years I have held Work-Study positions at McMaster. The Work-Study program offers part-time and full-time jobs on campus to help students financially pay for school and alleviate their loans. Tons of positions are available from office assistants to research assistants with profs (like Genna!). Not only do I meet other students and staff members, they keep the buildings wonderfully cool! I’m in the Engineering I Outreach office this summer (I was a Teaching Assistant for L.E.A.P. last summer), and I’ve been starting my mornings with lemonade on my bus ride to the campus to beat the heat. In the school year it is nice taking the bus, because we have the HSR bus pass with our student card; I just have to flash my student ID to board. Stepping off the bus onto campus is one of my favourite parts of the day. McMaster’s campus really is beautiful this time of year!

The flower arrangements on the walkway
 to Burke Science Building (BSB)
As much as I’m enjoying the summer, I can’t help but be excited for fall! It’s a little cooler then, and as a Welcome Week representative (aka ‘Redsuit’), I’ll get to join all the incoming first years for bonding activities like pulling a city bus through the Hamilton streets and cheering Mac on at the football game. Then, if it gets too hot, we can always go for a swim at Gulliver’s Lake for the engineering retreat. It’s a great week: be sure not to miss it!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer. Take some time to have fun in the sun!

Software Engineering & Co-op III