Sophomore Year in Review

I’ve never been particularly inclined towards courses that make me think about social issues, as someone who gravitates towards STEM courses. However, this past year I was encouraged to take two such courses to fulfill some of my general education requirements. I learned an overwhelming amount about myself as a student and citizen in the USA. I used to be naive to the social issues around me, only considering what benefitted and affected myself, even though that is hard to admit. After taking these courses, I have learned to think more holistically about the impact of my actions and others’ actions can have on society. I can genuinely say that after this year I am more worldly wise than ever before. I also applied to the D.A.A.D. Rise program this past year in hopes of gaining research experience outside of the United States and OSU. I was waitlisted for this program, awaiting potential additional funding, but due to COVID-19, the program was ultimately cancelled. If circumstances permit, I plan to apply to this program again next year as well as others in hopes of gaining international research experience.

This year I also had a lot of strides in my research experience on campus. I completed my second and third semester working with Dr. Kohler’s Physical Chemistry group on campus, gaining more experience in lab outside of coursework and independence in my projects. I hoped to get further in my current research projects in this group than I did, but I was affected by illness early this year that limited my ability to participate in my research first semester. However, I worked hard second semester in an attempt to make up for this lost time. I was on track to make strides before the COVID-19 outbreak.¬†I applied to present a poster at a local conference (ACS CERM) in Columbus for Summer 2020. My abstract (see Artifacts) was accepted, and I would have presented a poster at this conference. However, unfortunately the conference was postponed for 2021.

I also took more lab courses that taught me more about myself as a future chemist. I never thought I would be interested in Organic Chemistry as a career, but after taking the lecture and lab courses, I am strongly considering it. My research in Dr. Kohler’s group involves work on the organic biomolecule melanin, which I realized this year means a lot of my research thus far has actually been somewhat Physical-Organic Chemistry. ¬†Additionally, I was named the “Sophomore Organic Chemistry Award” by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, which was an honor. It made me further recognize that Organic Chemistry may be a field that I would excel in. I also took Analytical Chemistry 1 my second semester, which taught me how to develop an original research project and write in depth reports and scientific papers. Though our research project was never completed due to circumstances that prevented the ability to be on campus, I was able to complete a review article on the topic. This taught me a lot about the literature side of research, as I was required to read and critique numerous papers as well as write my own.

When I first came to Ohio State, I chose Chemistry as a major because I enjoyed the subject in high school; however, with each course I take in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, I am reassured that this major was the correct choice for me. Each course has exposed me to the breadth of chemistry, and I am excited to continue taking courses that expose me to more. However, I do hope to take more courses outside of my comfort zone in the future. Before graduation, I would like to take a forensic science course or a pharmaceutical course of some kind to expose me to the fields that chemistry may apply to that I have not largely considered thus far. I want to make sure that I have taken advantage of all of the opportunities available at OSU before I graduate.

During my second semester at OSU, I became a member of Alpha Xi Delta, which has taught me a lot of networking and leadership skills. This year I was also named “French Fry Frenxi Chair” during my second semester, which is a position focused on aiding to plan a food event to raise money for Autism Speaks. This food event was one that I originally proposed myself and, with the help of other members of the philanthropy board to develop the event, was projected to raise thousands of dollars. However, due to COVID-19, the event was cancelled before it was held. I hope to continue being involved with my sorority’s philanthropy through my position and membership in the future. Further, over the course of my entire second year at OSU I was a peer leader for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. This position taught me skills I did not know I needed or lacked, including the ability to direct small groups to finish tasks, speaking up in meetings, confidence in myself, encouraging others to take initiative and more. I hope to stay involved in leadership positions such as this on in the chemistry department in the future, whether it be through being a peer leader for another year or becoming a TA at some point in the future.

At the beginning of this year, I aided in moving in students to the dorms, and I hoped to stay more involved in volunteering and service throughout the year than I actually did. Unfortunately, I had mono for eight weeks my first semester of this year, which limited my ability to do much of anything, including going to class and volunteering. I was able to stay involved in service through my sorority, as we held numerous events and fundraisers to benefit Autism Speaks. However, in the future I am hoping to get more involved with service on campus. I hope to join clubs that promote service engagement if I am able to or seek more service opportunities on my own. I plan to continue to be involved with my sorority’s philanthropy in the upcoming semesters. Also, this upcoming summer I hope to volunteer at food pantries and other organizations, if circumstances permit.

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