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Chemistry Student's fondness of labs leads to Science Internship

Brett Lubbock

Third year Chemistry student Brett Lubbock is in the midst of his Science Internship at GABAE Development.

By Victoria Houle

Brett Lubbock of Oakville, Ontario is a 3rd year Chemistry student currently completing a 16 month internship at GABAE Development. GABAE develops products and technologies primarily for industrial applications. Lubbock plans to return to Western after the internship for his 4th year.

What module are you enrolled in at Western? Have you always been interested in your field?

I am doing a specialization in Chemistry. I haven’t always been interested in Chemistry. It was just easy for me in high school. I think my high school Chemistry teacher had a lot to do with it. He really helped me understand Chemistry, and he had a dry sense of humour. I kind of fell into it in University. I was actually an English major in first year. I took English because it has a lot of elective choices, so I tried Calculus, Chemistry, English and Business. After first year, I realized I didn’t like English – I had to read a lot of poetry. I like labs, and seeing stuff happen.

What is your role at GABAE?

GABAE is a research and development company. I’m a general lab technician there. I operate several different analytical instruments. I work mainly with a scanning electron microscope – a high powered microscope that uses an electron beam. I also use a DSC, a “differential scanning calorimetry”. It measures thermal degradation. When you heat something up it breaks down, it decomposes, and a DSC gives you a curve to show you when something started decomposing.

Has the internship program given you a feel for the world of work? How did it feel to try the job on for size?

Definitely. It’s a lot different than school. It was intimidating at first – the internship is 16 months long. But to be honest, it’s easier than school. Your weekends are your own.

How will you approach school differently after your internship?

It’s tough to say. I’d like to think I’d be more organized. I’m going to think of school as more of a job.

Would you recommend the Science Internship program? How did you get involved?

Absolutely. I would recommend looking into the Science Internship program to anyone who is interested. It’s been a really great experience. The classes teach you about resumes and cover letters and other valuable job skills and then you apply to the program, and if you fit the requirements, you’re accepted. I was accepted and started applying to internship postings from the internship program’s website. If the employer likes your resume and cover letter, you go to an interview. Most of the employers come to Western and interview you right here.