Brittany MacDonald

The Complete University Experience

Recent CBU grfeature-student-brittany-macdonald-01aduate Brittany MacDonald has many reasons to be proud. Not only has she completed an Engineering Diploma and Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Chemistry, she has done so while winning awards, keeping physically active and being involved. With her next step just beginning, Brittany shows no signs of slowing down.

Brittany MacDonald, originally from Sydney River, N.S., spent 10 years of her life relocating across Nova Scotia. “I’ve lived in areas such as Annapolis Royal, Bridgewater and New Glasgow,” Brittany says. But when the time came to choose a permanent spot to pursue her post-secondary education, Brittany chose to come home. “It is a great feeling to be able to return home for schooling,” she says. “Not only am I home in beautiful Cape Breton, but I also get to experience the many benefits of a small university.”

At the 2010 North Nova Education Centre (New Glasgow) graduation ceremony, Brittany was awarded the Governor General Medal for highest academic standing, the Carmichael Scholarship, CBU’s highest scholarship – The Chancellors Scholarship, the CBU Residence Scholarship, and others. Her possibilities were endless, but choosing CBU has proven to be an incredibly rewarding experience for this hard working young woman.

Brittany joined the CBU community with a deep love of Chemistry. “I have a large periodic table framed and hanging above my bed, and additional ‘nerdy’ items such as my periodic table clock,” she says. Since coming to CBU, Brittany has developed a strong interest in power generation and petroleum industry related work, which led her to the engineering focus of her studies.

Taking on two demanding programs would be stressful to any university student, but Brittany says being a student at CBU has made all the difference. “CBU has allowed me to experience small class sizes which not only increased the ease of learning, but allowed me to develop relationships with professors.” Being a Caper has also given Brittany great experiences outside the classroom and labs. While completing her undergraduate degree, Brittany has been involved in such groups as the CBU Engineering Society and the CBU Chemistry society. Additionally, she has attended various chemistry conferences and forums, Women in Science, RACE (Research Awareness in Chemistry Education) and the Mall of Science. CBU has certainly provided many great experiences for Brittany, and is now helping make one of her dreams come true.

“My most current and exciting opportunity is teaching Introductory Chemistry Lab courses at CBU,” says Brittany, whose lifelong ambition has been to teach. “I present information and involve students to progress through lab procedures to complement their class work, in such fields as molecular modeling, pH and compound analysis.” Brittany is pairing her teaching work with research, both of which she is being supervised by Dr. Adango Miadonye. “My lab research focuses on viscosity reduction and microwave irradiation for the upgrade and desulphurization of heave crude oils.” Microwave technology presents the best alternative, economically and environmentally, to the existing technologies for enhanced oil recovery operations and processing. “I have always wanted to become a teacher/professor, because I love the feeling of passing on knowledge to others, especially in a subject which I personally have such a great interest in.” Along with her current research involvement and teaching role, she has also been involved in research activity under Dr. Allen Britten.

“I feel as though being involved in research has honed many of the skills crucial for my future studies as well as my career as I required discipline to take on the task of research and courses at the same time,” she says. Brittany has taken six courses most semesters while at CBU, opposed to the norm which is five.

Even with her hectic workload, Brittany has been able to volunteer as a day camp coordinator for many years, and maintain a running and workout schedule.

Brittany believes that she has obtained skills that will aid her in her dream of someday being a professor. “I have always had a fear of presenting, but with attending various conferences and having the chance to present my work to large groups of people, I have overcome this fear.”

“Additionally, research has intensified my curiously into industrial issues within the world, causing me to strive to make a difference in aspects such as my current crude oil viscosity reduction processes,” she says.

Brittany will take the skills she has learned to Dalhousie University where she plans on completing her Bachelor of Engineering (Chemistry) degree. Upon completing that goal, she will move on to obtain her PhD in Chemical Engineering.

“I would recommend research work to anyone who has the opportunity to be involved, as it is a great experience you will remember for your entire life.”

Brittany is a presenter in the Student Research Series, which is being held each Wednesday throughout the summer.