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Rachael Mebs

Third-year biomedical engineering student works in Montreal lab

A woman wearing a Lallemand lab coat and a mask stands in a room full of yeast processing equipment.

Born and raised in Victoria, Rachael Mebs knew she wanted to stay close to home for her studies. But the biomedical engineering student was eager to experience a new city as part of her co-op work.

Rachael secured an eight-month co-op term as a yeast processing lab assistant at Lallemand Inc. in Montreal. Her job involved operating a bioreactor to grow yeast, using equipment such as a spray dryer, filter press and extruder to treat the yeast. She's familiar with lab techniques such as autoclaving, starting propagations in a reactor, separating, drying and doing dry weights and cell counts. 

“I really like the job because every day is different and I get to work on so many different projects,” said Rachael, who received a Strategic Framework Experiential Learning Fund (SF-ELF) award from UVic.

Travelling to Montreal, Rachael experienced life in a new city. She took time to explore the city and hunt down unique cafes during her downtime. Working with five other co-op students, she was excited to have the chance to collaborate with others her age and form long-lasting friendships.

Working in the lab at Lallemand has helped Rachael put her studies into practice. At the same time, she’s honed her problem-solving and time-management skills while working on numerous projects.

“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 said.

Rachael plans to stay in Victoria to pursue a career in lab research after completing her degree. 

“I was interested in medicine but didn't want to be at the forefront of it, and I’m fascinated by some of the projects that biomedical engineers have done,” said Rachael. “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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