Summer students gain practical experience in BCIT research lab

From analyzing kombucha to making food prototypes in a test kitchen these are just a few research projects BCIT’s Natural Health and Food Products Group (NRG) research students experienced this summer.

The Applied Research’s Natural Health and Food Products Research Group (NRG) successfully obtained funding through Eco Canada and Canada Summer Jobs to hire three students to work on investigative research on a variety of topics including kombucha, cannabis, and elderberry.  Guidelines from the Provincial Health Officer, BC Centre for Disease Control, and WorkSafeBC, and safety protocols and measures were in place to ensure the safety of students and researchers.

“We have been hiring summer students to help with our research for over 20 years,” says Hong Sy, NRG Researcher. “These students are vital to the contribution and success of our projects while gaining relevant experience to complement their studies.”

NRG Summer Students (l-r) Georgia Cato, Cynthia Huang, Sonya Wong

Sonya Wong, Cynthia Huang, and Georgia Cato made their way to the NRG lab, located in the BCIT Centre of Applied Research and Innovation, in May 2021 to start their first “in-person” summer job working in a lab.

Here’s what the students had to say about their experience:

“I had the chance to operate a benchtop freeze dryer and the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry  (GCMS). This hands-on experience taught me how to work efficiently using a variety of tools and instruments which will help me with my future studies and eventually in the workplace,” says Georgia Cato, BCIT Food Technology student.

“Due to safety protocols and guidelines during the pandemic, most of the labs during the school year were not accessible so it was nice to put the knowledge we learned and apply it at the NRG lab this summer,” shares Sonya Wong, BCIT Food Technology student. “Work was flexible and everyone is extremely friendly and helpful. It was also a lot of fun!”

Hong Sy, NRG Research Analyst working with summer student

“NRG’s highly supportive environment and working on a variety of different interesting projects, made me excited to go into the lab each day,” says Cynthia Huang, Biotechnology student. “I would highly encourage students to consider working in a lab environment during the summer.”

“The students were able to integrate into several ongoing NRG projects which gave them the opportunity to learn new skills and apply their educational background to help solve real-life scientific problems,” said Kim Dotto, Dean, Applied Research and Centre for Research and Innovation.


About BCIT Natural Health and Food Products Research Group

The BCIT Natural Health and Food Products Research Group (NRG) addresses issues of product quality, process improvement, and human health using basic and applied science along with state-of-the-art technology. The goal is to ensure that all Canadians can achieve the potential health and economic benefits offered by medicinal plants, natural health products, and the food industry.

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