Oregon State University Honors College junior and chemical engineering major James Ho was inspired by chemistry when he arrived at OSU, and his passion for it has not stopped growing since.
Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, James had to adjust to Corvallis and Oregon State, but has since found it to be a great place to focus on his studies. “Las Vegas is a tourist home, and as a local, I realized I wanted a change of scenery,” he says.
James’s involvement with research predates his time in the Honors College, and the HC has been a perfect fit for his interests. “I knew the Honors College would mesh well with my academic goals and enhance my focus in chemistry.”
“Research sparked my passion in a new way.”
James has relished the opportunities offered at OSU. Before transferring into the Honors College, he found a hands-on research opportunity with Dr. Mas Subramanian’s materials research lab. He then began working with Dr. Kyriakos Stylianou, whose research combines inorganic and organic chemistry. “As I gained experience, I got to explore projects independently and be more autonomous,” he explains. “Research pushed me to be independent.” Dr. Stylianou is now James’s honors thesis mentor.
James found a way to use chemistry to connect with other students in his free time as well. During remote learning, when he was living in the residence halls, he realized that some of his peers were struggling with chemistry, so he began hosting various informal study sessions. This soon became a weekly routine, and he dedicated time to writing practice quizzes and tests and even individually tutoring students. “This helped give me a new drive and a new perspective on chemistry,” he says. After the return to in-person learning, James continued helping students weekly through Discord and in-person study sessions. Eventually, the Honors College invited James to work as a paid tutor, helping students during official office hours. Working as a tutor both on and off the clock has helped fuel his passion for the subject in a new way.
“Chemistry is woven into everything I do.”
For James, the recent pandemic made him prioritize staying engaged and connected, advice he now passes on. “Ask for help, if needed. I could not have done this all without a solid support system.” This can then provide a foundation for growth, development and exploration. “Explore your interests as in-depth as you can,” he advises. “Don’t be scared to mix it up.”
By Megan Sherman: Student Writer, Honors College