In the lab, I read primary literature, learned countless practical laboratory skills, and developed the art of scientific writing.
I started my sophomore year still questioning what to major in, but two weeks of organic chemistry class changed everything. “O-Chem,” the study of carbon-containing molecules, enchanted me.
Wanting to learn more, I began working in Macalester professor Becky Hoye’s organic synthesis research lab, collaborating with her and a few other students to synthesize novel molecules used in chemical genetic research by a plant biologist at Mac. In the lab, I read primary literature, learned countless practical laboratory skills, and developed the art of scientific writing.
Although I greatly enjoyed my on-campus research, I wanted to experience academic research in a different setting and successfully applied for a position in a government-funded research program at the Chulabhorn Research Institute in Bangkok, Thailand. I found that my Macalester research experience and course work in all subjects—not only chemistry—had prepared me well. I worked alongside Thai students and professors in developing a new reaction that will be used to make thousands of molecules with potential medicinal uses. I also spent over two months exploring the culture, traditions, issues, and politics of Thailand.
Next year, I plan to study synthetic organic chemistry in graduate school, then conduct research in either an academic or industrial setting. At Macalester, I learned the practical skills needed to succeed in the workplace, and through my Thai experience, I broadened my view of the world — particularly the scientific world.