STUDENT SPOTLIGHT | APRIL 2019
Describe your research/creative work in just two sentences that we can all understand. My research involves storing renewable energy in energy-dense chemical bonds, so that it can be utilized later or converted into useful chemical feedstocks. I specifically work on understanding and improving catalytic generation of hydrogen.
Q: Who mentors your project?
A: My graduate student mentor is Wade Henke, and my Principal Investigator (PI) is Professor James Blakemore.
Q: What surprised you about doing research?
A: Numerous aspects of research were surprising to me, from the tremendous financial costs associated with running a chemistry lab to the degree of freedom that you have to determine the course of your project.
Q: What did you find most challenging about getting involved in or doing your project? What advice would you offer to students facing similar challenges?
A: The most significant obstacle I faced in the course of my research is sustaining the passion and work ethic I displayed during my first year as an undergraduate research assistant. Eventually, I was able to establish a solid routine, but it took time and effort to reach.
Q: What do you like most about your project?
A: The most exciting result of doing research in general, and this is true for my project as well, is that you are inherently doing something new – something no one’s ever done before. In my case, seeing my efforts in lab yield new catalysts for hydrogen evolution is most definitely my favorite aspect of my project.
Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?
A: Do it. Find an advisor, peer mentor, or somebody with decent knowledge of your subject and have them walk you through choosing a possible PI and mentor. Try it for a semester and you’ll find out if you do or don’t like it by then. But you’ll never know if you don’t try.
Q: How do you spend your time when you're not working on your research?
A: Honestly I mostly either play basketball at the rec or hang out with friends.