Vinay Bijoor ’18 visits IRP Students

The Independent Research Program kicked off our 2021-2022 guest lecture series with Vinay Bijoor ’18. This was a very special visit since Vinay was also the very first IRP graduate!

During his visit, he taught us how fascinating it can be to study dirt! One of the projects he has been working on is extracting organic compounds from ocean floor samples, the results of which could help paleontologists understand climate change, and human and animal migration patterns in sub-Saharan Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago.

One student commented, “I found Vinay's research very interesting as I never knew how much we could learn just from examining dirt. The process of retrieving said dirt and putting it through all those procedures to make it suitable for examination surprised me because it was so intricate and time-consuming: a whole month or so just for a couple of vials. However, the data they produced at the end is incredible because it can go back millions of years and predict what was happening in that area all from leaf wax and other compounds.”

It was also exciting for the students to hear about how the fundamental scientific principles they learned in our chemistry or biology curriculum can be used to determine the composition of matter in the samples, bridging the gap between classroom curriculum and real-world scientific progress.  

Thank you, Vinay, for taking the time to come to visit our students.  We wish you the best of luck in your senior year of college!

All alumni/parents with present or past experiences in scientific research have a standing invitation to visit the Independent Research Program. Our future scientists love hearing your stories, and these talks are formative to their careers. If you are interested, please reach out to Dr. Andrew Ying.