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Aquatic Alchemists: Water the Universal Solvent


Chemistry, biology, and environmental science

Topic: The unique properties of water as a universal solvent and its significance in various fields including chemistry, biology, and environmental science focusing on combination of theoretical learning and creative experiments, interns will gain a deep understanding of water's solvent properties and its role in shaping natural processes.

This internship offers a comprehensive exploration of water's role as a universal solvent and its implications across various fields. Through theoretical learning, creative experimentation, and expert insights, interns will delve into water's chemical structure, solvation processes, and the principles of green chemistry and engineering. They will explore the fascinating world of foam formation, chemistry, and biomimicry, examining how technologies can be inspired by nature. Environmental considerations will be central, with a focus on understanding water pollution, treatment technologies, and strategies for sustainability. Interns will also engage in scientific research methodologies and computational tools to develop innovative capstone projects.

Throughout the program, weekly assignments and access to extensive resources will facilitate deep learning and critical thinking. The internship will culminate in research project presentations and reflections, empowering interns to apply their newfound knowledge and skills to real-world challenges in water science and sustainability.

Available Intern Positions:

3 High School, 3 Undergrad & 1 Master, PhD

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“Born Global marked the pivotal beginning of my career journey. It didn't confine me to predetermined expectations; it fostered an environment where I could craft my own solutions through invaluable support and resources. I carried forward a profound sense of agency in my ability to effect change in the world one step at a time.”

Kelly Wang (BU ENG’23) 

Product Designer NextGen Healthcare, BU MS Computer Engineering 

Hewitt Pathfinder Fund Recipient, Biommicry Intern 2020-2022


Week 1: Introduction to Water as a Solvent

  • Overview of water's chemical structure and properties

  • Explanation of solvents and their importance in chemical processes

  • Introduction to the concept of polarity and hydrogen bonding in water

  • Understanding the process of solvation and dissolution (cavity theory)

  • Exploration of water's importance in biological systems (focus on plants)

Week 2: Introduction to Green Chemistry and Green Engineering

  • Overview of green chemistry principles and green engineering concepts

  • Understanding the importance of sustainability in chemical and engineering processes

  • Case studies highlighting successful implementations of green chemistry and engineering principles.

  • Wastewater treatment and green chemistry.

Week 3: Foam Formation, Chemistry, and Biomimicry

  • Introduction to foam and its characteristics.

  • Understanding the chemistry behind foam formation.

  • Factors influencing foam stability and behavior

  • How foam can inspire biomimetic technologies

  • Case studies on green foam technologies and their impact on industries

  • Discussion on capstone projects

Week 4: Environmental Implications of Water Solubility

  • Discussion on water pollution and contaminants

  • Investigation of water treatment technologies

  • Brainstorming for biomimetic ideas

  • Final selection of capstone project.

Week 5: Innovation on Water Technologies and Foam

  • Introducing scientific research

  • Tools for scientific research: computational chemistry

  • Brainstorming for capstone projects

  • The importance of experimentation

  • Case studies of innovative technologies in the field

  • Guest lecture

Week 6: Sustainability

  • Analysis of the environmental impacts of conventional technologies

  • Discussion on the importance of sustainability

  • Introduction to life cycle assessment (LCA)

  • Exploration of strategies for minimizing environmental footprint

Week 7: Research Capstone Preparation

  • Meeting to check on progress

  • Assistance in the formulation of research questions and hypotheses

  • Formulation of a final report

Week 8: Research Capstone Presentation

  • Finalization of capstone projects

  • Preparation and delivery of presentations

  • Reflection on key learnings from the internship


  • Weekly assignments to assess understanding of theoretical concepts

  • Research project presentation and report


  • Textbooks and academic papers on water chemistry and solvation

  • Online databases for research and literature review

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