Simon Ogundare

Student, Columbia University
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About Simon Ogundare

I'm currently a first-year student at Columbia University majoring in Neuroscience and Behaviour. I was originally born in New York City, yet have lived for the majority of my life in Nigeria and England. I'm passionate about research in medicine and climate science, and am looking forward to sharing what I've discovered as well as learn from my peers on the Scholars Network.

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Scholar

Area of Expertise

Environment Science

Research Topic

Chemistry Climate Change Environmental Geoscience

Laidlaw Cohort Year

2021

University

Columbia University

I am from:

Nigeria United Kingdom United States of America

I speak:

English Spanish

My hobbies/interests are:

Cooking/Baking Music Nature & environment Reading Running/jogging Technology Volleyball

I am open to participating in mentoring/buddy programmes

Yes

Intro Content

Proposal Earth Sciences Environment

Laidlaw Program 2021: Research Proposal

The current purpose of my research is to develop and test a financially viable mode of carbon capture and storage (CCS) by binding an amine-based scrubber to a gel structure (alginate), to enhance scrubbing action while maximizing reusability.

Influencer Of

Topics

Channels contributed to:

STEM

Rooms participated in:

Columbia University

Recent Comments

Jun 04, 2021
Replying to Avi J Adler

What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

One challenge I have faced over the past weeks is time constraints. My project requires protocols that can sometimes take three to four days to carry out. Considering the limited timeframe of the Summer A semester, fitting in all the data collection that needs to be accomplished has proven to be challenging. This has forced me to focus the scope of my project. In addition, it has forced me to be highly organized and forward thinking about when experiments will be started and carried out. In addition, taking clear and useful images of my samples has proven to be a challenge. By the nature of the samples (often only a few microns wide) generating intact samples with correct fluorescence and morphology is arduous.

These challenges, among others, only enhance the ambitions of my project. Thinking about the bigger picture, the time constraints and technical challenges have only furthered my conviction that more work is needed on this topic. Although this is not surprising to me, I am more convinced now of how crucial it is to keep learning, working and progressing. I hope to be a part of future studies of this nature.

What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

Online databases and websites devoted to academic sources have been crucial to my research. Even though my work does focus on researching databases, they have proved to be an invaluable resource. These sites give me insight into what is known in my field, what work others have done, what techniques have proven successful, among many other things. Overall, probing these websites has provided a framework by which I can begin to ask questions.

Avi,

I definitely agree with your comments on the time constraints of Summer A. Six weeks goes by quickly! I'm glad to hear that it has influenced your motivation for your project in the future. I'm sure you've already found great online databases that work well for your study, but I've recently been using Scopus and it's been a great alternative to Google Scholar, which I also use pretty frequently.

Jun 04, 2021
  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

Even though I've worked with my supervisor to develop an experiment which produces consistent and reliable results, the time it takes for each trial (around an hour and a half per trial) is much longer than I originally imagined. Even though the time constraints which developed as a result has proved a challenge, it's helped me focus on the true nature of my project (demonstrating the functionality of the beads) rather than many of the other tests I had hoped to run in the first few weeks.

  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

I recently reached out to the librarian assigned to me (Will Vanti), and he introduced me to Scopus, which Columbia is subscribed to. Usually I use Google Scholar when I'm searching for relevant articles, but this resource is has a much more advanced search function, which I'm extremely grateful for (given that my project is quite niche).

May 22, 2021
Replying to Ava Sanjabi
  • What are some of the ethical issues that you are grappling with in your research? What are some of the ways in which you are responding to these questions?

My research is based more on the biosignatures that result from life rather than life itself. Though I may not be working with living organisms directly, there are others in my lab who work with living subjects like mice. It is difficult to think about the impact of testing on animals, but, presently, animal subjects are one of the best analogs to human subjects. To deal with this ethical dilemma, it helps to consider what alternatives can be used, and how we can work to achieve positive outcomes.

  • As you continue your research, have you considered alternative viewpoints in your investigation? If so, how have these alternative viewpoints enriched or changed your project?

Working in a lab with many biologists, I was constantly thinking like a biologist, and how to test samples using common biological methods. However, after speaking with a geochemist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory this past week, I have revised my testing methods to better suit the rock and basalt samples I am using. 

Hey Ava,

I definitely agree with the importance of having an open mind and considering alternatives when it comes to live animal research, but also acknowledging the value animals have brought to our own human understanding. I find it relatable that your scientific perspective changes based on the field of the scientists you're working with! I feel like I've been mainly adopting a solely chemistry perspective, even though I also need to explore the biological implications more deeply as well.

I'm curious about how you've revised your methods to suit the samples you're using, so if you have spare time to meet or share more about that I'd love to learn about what you've done there!

I'm glad to hear the LDEO shuttles are back online! I've really wanted to take the shuttle up there sometime over this summer term but I wasn't sure whether we could yet.

All the best with your project :)

May 22, 2021
  • What are some of the ethical issues that you are grappling with in your research? What are some of the ways in which you are responding to these questions?

While I think most of the methodological aspects of my research may not have many direct ethical implications, one part of research that I'm learning to be more critical about is with decolonizing methodologies, which I think are extremely applicable if I intend to do fieldwork with whatever initial results I obtain. I think when one is testing the practicality of their ideas in "the field," it's easy to treat the environment as simply that (a data gathering environment), and that's usually one of the few criteria for choosing locations, while discounting the value of the location to its residents / inhabitants. We discussed science communication as a strategy for decolonizing methodologies in our graduate student mentor groups, and on that front, I'm trying to read more about ways to talk about my research to others who may not be completely versed in what I'm studying.

  • As you continue your research, have you considered alternative viewpoints in your investigation? If so, how have these alternative viewpoints enriched or changed your project?

I've proceeded with experimentation with the goal in mind to modify carbon dioxide scrubbing into a technology that can be globally affordable, while also as effective as typical "pure" scrubbing compounds. However, there are a lot of perspectives that would give an alternative goal — that simply objective efficiency of the scrubber would be the goal. I've been struggling between these two differing sides, and there are small steps in the synthesis of the beads that I could change which would maximize the efficiency of the scrubbing complex, but might reduce its affordability. Maintaining a balance between these two competing factors is something I've been grappling with, because neither side is completely wrong, but it's definitely given me something to think about when considering the project in terms of its long-term goals.

May 13, 2021
Replying to Suan Lee

1. It was a privilege to hear about everyone's vastly different projects and learn about a variety of research methods from last week's workshops. They've encouraged me to think bigger and more creatively about the way I might present my own work and make it widely accessible. For example, I am now considering how digital initiatives such as podcasting or creating an online exhibit might be a more compelling final product, as opposed to the traditional academic paper that often culminates from historical/archival research. 

2. I've already had a bit of a setback with the microfilms I was relying on for my research not arriving at Butler in time. I have had to identify other preparatory research to do in the meantime which, thankfully, was not at all difficult, but it's been a disappointment nonetheless. Lesson one of doing research, learned: plan ahead for the things you can't control going a bit off course!

Hey Suan!

I'm really curious about whether you end up podcasting or making a digital exhibit – please keep us updated on your progress! I agree in that the digital media we saw during the workshop last week were quite compelling, and I'm wondering whether you can still present the work you conduct (perhaps by blending aspects of the traditional research paper and some kind of website).

Also good luck with the microfilms; it does sound like a setback that they didn't arrive in time but I'm glad you had more time to do more preliminary research!

May 13, 2021
  • Last week the trainings and discussions we had cut across the disciplines. How does the interdisciplinary nature of this program, the fact that students are focusing on such a diverse range of projects, help you think about your project and/or your academic interests more broadly?

Even though the majority of my project is based in STEM, many of the implications I'm interested in are based in anthropology. While I was originally thinking about my project just encompassing the lab research, I'm also curious about the human impacts and the unsettlingly prevalent resistance to environmental phenomena such as global warming. After this summer session, I'd like to hear more about my peers' methods, as I'm curious about what worked (or didn't work) for them.

  • As you begin your individual research projects this week, do you anticipate any challenges in getting started? If so, what are they?

Generally, the work I hope to carry out involves the bridging of two quite unrelated fields, so most of what I've been doing in the lab right now has been based on finding the strings which connect the two. Even though I'm relatively comfortable with spherification, the big question is whether the product (the alginate-MEA scrubbing beads) will actually be functional. It's an uncomfortable position because there is no literature I've found which has tried this before, but I'm happy that I have a pretty large support network in the lab and peers I can ask for feedback and/or suggestions.

May 09, 2021
Replying to Dennis Zhang

1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

Our workshops challenged my preconceived notions of "good" leadership as a monolithic set of behaviors and traits. In particular, the workshop on our different social styles (e.g. analytic, driver, etc.) prompted me to think more intentionally about effective approaches to collaborating with people who differed not only in interests / expertise, but also in the fundamental nature of their personalities. Through exercises like these, I learned to appreciate how manifestations of "good" leadership often differ from scenario to scenario, and to adopt a more flexible approach moving forwards.

2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

The major challenge in the forefront of my mind is familiarizing myself with the various jargon and moving parts associated with my research project on precision medicine. Given my limited exposure to this field so far, it's definitely challenging to connect certain ideas right now, but I feel myself making progress as I parse through the current literature. I have already met several times with my research supervisor to go over our research methods and the projects I'll be taking on, but the first steps I need to take next week are to simply get started and begin collecting interesting sources to analyze/close read later.

Hi Dennis!

I definitely agree that it's important to recognize that the ways leadership manifests is often different in different scenarios. I think that's it's also extremely helpful not only to recognize one's own capabilities as a leader, but also to figure out how to "slot in" with others, and how complement others' skills. On an unrelated note, I'm really excited to see where your project goes from here! Precision medicine is such a fascinating topic, and I'm curious about some of the literature you've discovered so far!

May 09, 2021

1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

When I've been asked to describe it in the past, it's been challenging trying to explain exactly what leadership is. The workshops we've had over this past week have both helped me come closer to a more concrete definition, and also existed as an important reminder of the variety that exists in terms of leaders, leadership styles, and strategies.

Even now, it's so convenient to assume that all "good leaders" (however we choose to define good leadership) fit a particular mold or follow a specific pattern to success. At least, in popular media, these kinds of pathways are much more prevalent than others. I think the first workshop on a multidimensional model of leadership was extremely helpful in breaking this popularized idea. In reality, holding to these stagnant characteristics of leadership can sometimes eclipse the more dynamic roles that leaders today tend to take, which personally I think make them much more resilient to changes when they come about (and they often do)!

2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

I've definitely been considering how I'll adapt my method and materials based on what my preliminary results look like. On these lines, I've planned with my mentor and designed up a very preliminary experiment just to confirm that what's happening with my CO2 scrubbing structure performs exactly (or similar to) how I've hypothesized. Once that's underway and more or less confirmed, I've developed a more comprehensive method which will be the primary focus for the next couple of weeks.