SPEAKER: This is a production of Cornell University.
KATIE DONLEY: I feel so lucky that Cornell offers a major that is such a perfect match for me because for as long as I can remember, I have always loved to design, science, and technology. Through human ecology, and I have been able to pursue that interest further.
Human ecology offers so many different types of research, that student that is interested in almost anything, can pursue their interest here.
MARGARET FREY: group works on making new fibers. New kinds of fibers, with some special functionality to them, whether that be chemical reactivity at the surface, super absorbance, or possibly, very high strength.
And we've also shown that we can activate the fibers and use them to capture biohazards on the surface. So we want to be able to combine those properties, to make a system that can be used like a napkin and capture biohazards off a surface.
KATIE DONLEY: Doing research here has been such an eye-opening experience for me. I just love that I can use my knowledge of textiles and fibers to help the environmental cause in that way.
So whether it's working on stain-repellent fabrics that are environmentally-friendly or working on upholstery that filters out air pollutants-- they are just so many different ways to approach being more environmentally-friendly through fiber science.
electrospinning is a way of producing a fabric that has really high surface area and is basically, a much more effective filter for certain types of uses. We can use electrospinning as a base for this environmentally-friendly fabric that we want to develop.
MARGARET FREY: Doing research in the lab is very different than taking laboratory classes. I think what they really take away is the kind of intellectual curiosity you bring to research. The analytical skills you bring to research.
How we approach things. How we try things. What we do, and what we learn when things don't work.
KATIE DONLEY: Margaret taught me that sometimes, you learn the most from the mistakes that you make in the lab, and even when things go wrong, you can learn a lot more from that, than you might have originally thought.
I think that I have learned a lot about myself through the research, and if I can take the determination that I have in the lab to what I do outside of college, then I can really succeed.
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Katie Donley and Associate Professor Margaret Frey explore the possibilities of fiber science research.
In the College of Human Ecology, more than one third of undergraduates conduct research, either independently under the guidance of faculty mentors, or directly on faculty research teams. And the number of students conducting research continues to grow, because Human Ecology is committed to the integration of research methods, principles and outcomes into the delivery of its academic mission.