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Andrew Hessel


May 31, 2006

This wasn't an official Ambassador visit. I was passing through Montreal on some other travel and hoped to meet the team and take a look around, but it was still very early in the iGEM season. I didn't want to shortchange the team out of a longer, more productive visit but hoped they'd have some time to meet with me. Jay and her team did.

I'd come in from Brussels, so I was tired and running on coffee. It was a sultry day in Montreal, hot and humid. I'd taken a cab to McGill direct from the Pierre Elliot Trudeau (formerly Dorval) airport. After finding the team, I gave them a 30 minute, non-technical overview of the iGEM program.

The team was already working away happily. The team was fairly large and diversified, with plenty of biological experience. The team was also doing well on the fundraising and marketing fronts, collecting several thousand dollars in donations from other departments.

Some of the students and I had a late lunch and chatted. Overall, a very pleasant getting-to-know-you kind of day. I plan to return in late June or early July with Melissa Li for a more technical visit.

When I left McGill, I started out walking towards the train station, about a 15 minute walk. After a few steps, I stopped, sensing the heaviness in the air. I flagged a cab instead. Minutes later, a freak storm erupted over Montreal, flooding streets and grounding aircraft. It's good to trust your instincts.

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