In the semesters of Summer 2020- Spring 2021, seven female undergraduate STEM students and three professionals investigated the potential environmental impacts of chemical ultraviolent filter found in sunscreens and other personal care product. To calculate the average loading rate of chemical UV filters in SWFL beaches, surveys were taken at the beaches to identify the average amount of sunscreen used, how often it is applied, and most used sunscreen and factors it is selected. This research caught many people’s attention, even showing on Wink News story (shown below) and making the school’s newsletter.
This was an amazing learning experience that taught me so much. By working closely with my mentor, Dr. Redfern, I was fostered and guided on this research project, in which I pursued grant writing and learned how to do further research.
The goal in the lab is to investigate the potential toxicity of oxybenzone on certain environmental microbes. In the lab, I have created the stock: one with oxybenzone, one without, and one with sunscreen (3% avobenzone) with oxybenzone. After the stock was autoclaved, the microbes were constantly fed and monitored for the growth rate over time. These results will help us better to understand and further characterize the environmental impact associated with oxybenzone.
While the research is still in progress, I have gained so much knowledge in the span of one year as an undergrad student. Dr. Redfern’s guidance has helped me in so many ways by building my critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as my confidence. Working with her and so many other students has given me life-changing experience in the lab, research, and surveying. As a future engineer, this research opportunity transformed my perspective and insight on what I would like to do in the future as I continue my education and career. I am eager to continue this research and learn more of the opportunities Florida Gulf Coast University has to offer.