Michael Hughes has been selected as one of our Undergrads of the Quarter for Fall 2013. Michael grew up in San Jose and went to Westmont High School. He is a non-traditional student who came to OSU while he was living in Medford, OR because of his interest in Animal Science and the benefits of OSU’s in-state tuition. While taking CH 12X as a requirement for Animal Science, he fell in love with Chemistry because “it felt like a puzzle” and “dissected the world in a way that made sense to him.” He was excited about the possibility to “explore the world” in ways he hadn’t thought of before. He got interested in undergraduate research over two years ago – working in Professor John Simonsen’s lab in Wood Science on cellulose nanocrystals. His favorite courses have been the intergrated labs as they help to show the connection between lecture and practical science. Dr. Chris Pastorek is his favorite instructor during his time here. When not working lab or taking courses, he enjoys spending time with his wife and young daughter. He plans to attend UC-Santa Barbara this fall for graduate school in Chemistry. After obtaining his PhD degree, he wants to continue to stay engaged in research. We are so proud of students like Michael who have found their passion in Chemistry!
Arsalan was born in Portland and went to Aloha High School. He came to OSU because of the high quality of education available here for a “fraction of the cost of other places.” During freshman orientation, he was initially registered as a biology major. When Dr. Chris Pastorek walked into the College of Science orientation and announced “All chem majors come with me,” he felt a spontaneous desire to follow her and has never looked back. His favorite instructor is Emile Firpo due to his incredible generosity. His interest in organic chemistry was sparked during the CH 334/335/336 series and he considers doing research with organic chemistry professor Paul Blakemore his best experience at OSU. His favorite course was CH 435 Spectroscopy with Chris Beaudry. After graduation, he intended to go to grad school to obtain a PhD in Chemistry and hopes to be a university professor one day. OSU and the Chemistry Department are so lucky to have talented students like Arsalan.
Monica Best has been selected as an undergrad chem major of the quarter for Fall 2012. Monica grew up in Portland, OR and attended La Salle High School. Her junior and senior-year chemistry courses in high school solidified her interest in Chemistry. When she visited OSU, she was impressed with the Chemistry Department and specifically credits Chris Pastorek with telling her all the great things going on here. She is in her junior year right now – working in Adjunct Chemistry faculty member Jennifer Field’s laboratory. She is unsure if she plans to attend graduate school, but hopes to stay in Oregon (or the Northwest) after she graduates. She is a fan of the TV crime dramas such as NCIS (particularly the lab tech Abby Sciuto) which has inspired her interest in the forensic science-chemistry option (with a toxicology minor). She has enjoyed participating in the Chemistry Club within the Department – particularly the laid back feel and the expectation that the students do the work. Her favorite courses so far have been Experimental Chemistry with Emile Firpo and John Loeser where she tells us that the student gets to be the “brain of it” – deciding what they are going to do. She is taking Physical Chemistry this term and really has enjoyed Professor Glenn Evans’ passion and enthusiasm in the classroom. Outside of chemistry, she likes going to OSU football games, swimming and waterskiing in the summer time and crafting ”everything” from picture frames to scrapbooks. She also recently joined the OSU Flying Club to learn how to fly. It is talented and diverse students like Monica that help to make the OSU Chemistry program so strong!
Josh Holmes has been selected as an undergrad chem major of the quarter for Fall 2012. Josh was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts , but grew up in Wilton, New Hampshire. Josh took a non-traditional path to OSU. While excelling in math throughout high school, he was unsure what career path to take. Consequently, he decided to work in the construction industry after graduating from high school in 2002. During that time, he became interested in snow skiing and began working as a ski lift operator. His interest in skiing ultimately brought him to the west coast (California) were he met his wife. In 2008, his wife enrolled in graduate school at OSU in geology. Josh took the opportunity to re-engage with his education and starting taking classes at LBCC in 2009. Within a year, he had matriculated to OSU where he has excelled ever sense. He enjoyed taking math classes at OSU, but it was his General Chemistry course with Dr. Phil Watson that really caught his attention – commenting that he was “blown away by it.” His interest in the fundamental aspects of chemistry drove him to work for emeritus Professor Ken Hedberg because he “wants to known deep down inside what is happening” in chemistry. Josh has enjoyed the personal attention and friendly attitude that OSU offers – providing easy access to faculty. Both of those attributes he associates with the Experimental Chemistry courses run by Emile Firpo, John Loeser and Chris Pastorek. He is unsure exactly what he wants to do after graduation, but he feels that he would like to teach in some capacity. Josh still likes to snow ski and is an accomplished musician – playing guitar in the band called the Psych Country Revue (rock and roll with a country twist). Our Department is lucky to have wonderful students like Josh who will surely inspire the next generation of chemists through their passion and enthusiasm about science!