STUDENT SPOTLIGHT | OCTOBER 2014
Major: Chemistry with an environmental emphasis
Research project: My research entails the synthesis and characterization of several derivatives of the hydrocarbon known as azulene. Ultimately, these azulene derivatives may be used for nanotechnological applications, such as use in molecular wires and optical sensors.
Research mentors: Mikhail Barybin
Q: What surprised you about doing research?
A: Apart from the complicated chemistry (which I was expecting), I was taken aback by how much knowledge of hardware was required even to set up a reaction. Before I could do any real chemistry, I needed to learn the hundreds of little dos and don'ts regarding glassware, reagents, apparatuses, etc. in order to set up the correct conditions for a smooth reaction. I was surprised to find this as one of my larger obstacles in doing chemistry, rather than lack of expertise in the chemistry itself.
Q: What do you like most about your research?
A: More than anything, I enjoy working with the people in my lab group. They have all been incredibly supportive and helpful to me as a student new to research in chemistry. Their dedication to the work and to the group inspires me to do my best in every respect.
Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?
A: Research whatever you are passionate about, but be prepared to put in long hours of work. The end results of research are gratifying, but they won't come easily.
Q: How do you spend your time when you're not doing research?
A: Apart from studying, I love to run, play guitar and rock climb!