Connecting education with an experiential learning experience

Applied Research at BCIT is not just about discovering innovative solutions that will shape the future of our world. It has also long provided students with a platform to expand their skill sets and challenge them with out-of-the-box projects.

One of the groups in Research, the BCIT’s Natural Health & Food Products Research Group (NRG), has provided an interdisciplinary learning environment for students for over 15 years.

“Natural products research is a multidisciplinary field that requires knowledge from chemistry and botany to food and microbiology,” says NRG Researcher Elizabeth Mudge. “Students from different educational programs are able to cross train at NRG and expand their technical abilities beyond the realm of the classroom.”

Giving the students the opportunity to gain hands-on exposure to analytical instrumentation currently used in the industry, gives them a competitive edge when seeking future employment.

“It has been my pleasure to work with NRG as it has offered valuable insight into the interplay between academia and industry. ” added Wallace Yuen, a first year Biotechnology student who was employed part-time at NRG throughout the 2014/2015 academic year. “I’ve also had the chance to learn the theory behind several key analytical instruments such as high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography.”

Preeti Pratap, a first year Food Technology student was also employed part-time at NRG, said that working with Applied Research has given her an insight of what goes on behind the scenes in a research environment. Under the guidance of NRG Researchers, students are mentored while they assist with ongoing industry contracts and grant funded research projects.

“It has allowed me to apply my knowledge of Chemistry to better understand the process of product development,” said Pratap. “It gave me the opportunity to develop hands on skills on the new instruments that I got to use during the research. NRG helped me to develop problem solving skills, analysis techniques and better prepare me for my career as a food technician.”