Student stories

Working towards a career in lab research

Rachael Mebs

Lallemand, Inc.

“I really like the job because every day is different and I get to work on so many different projects,” says Rachael. After completing her degree, she plans to stay in Victoria pursuing a career in lab research.

Biomedical engineering student and SF-ELF award recipient rachael Mebs is working on an eight-month co-op term as a yeast processing lab assistant. Born and raised in Victoria, she knew she wanted to stay on Vancouver Island for her studies, but jumped at the chance to experience a new city during her co-op work term for Lallemand, Inc. in Montreal.

“I was interested in medicine, but would not want to be at the forefront of it, and I’m fascinated by some of the projects that biomedical engineers have done,” Rachael says. Biomedical engineering was a perfect fit. Working in the lab has helped Rachael put her studies into practice, as she depends on engineering principles when problem-solving and gains experience in a lab environment.

In the lab, Rachael operates a bioreactor to grow yeast, using various equipment such as a spray-dryer, filter press, and extruder to treat the yeast. She’s learned lab techniques like autoclaving, starting propagations in a reactor, separating, drying, and doing dry weights and cell counts. 

She’s honed her problem-solving and time management skills while working on numerous projects in the lab. “There were a lot of details that went into each step of the projects, so it was important to be able to backtrack and figure out where the problem was if something went wrong,” she says.

Travelling to Montreal for her work term, Rachael was able to experience life in a new city. She loved taking time to explore and hunt down new, unique cafes during her down time. Working with five other co-op students, she was excited to have the chance to collaborate with other students her age and form new, long-lasting friendships.

“I really like the job because every day is different and I get to work on so many different projects,” says Rachael. After completing her degree, she plans to stay in Victoria pursuing a career in lab research. “This co-op gave me some great experience and confirmed the fact that I want to work in a hands-on lab environment.”

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