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Rachel Martin ‘13 was first intrigued by chemistry during her sophomore year of high school. Her teacher piqued her interest through his teaching style and helped her decide that she wanted to major in chemistry.
Relationships were the driving force behind Rachel’s choice to study chemistry at Carthage. She had the desire to not only learn about chemistry, but also build relationships with her professors and other students within her department.
“I liked how small and intimate the department was,” Rachel said about her decision to attend Carthage. “Everyone is always very helpful and supportive, and every professor knows everyone. You really get to know the professors in the department. No one is ever too busy to help, and teachers always make time and make themselves available to the students.”
Rachel plans on attending graduate school to earn a master’s degree in chemical engineering. She wants to have a career that will help improve the world; her goal is to work for a company that is creating new, alternative and renewable fuel. Currently, Rachel is conducting research with Dr. Christine Blaine.
“I would like to be a chemical engineer and work for a lab to find an alternate, renewable resource.”
“I have two favorite professors. One of those professors is Dr. Blaine. She really gets excited about the material she teaches, which makes the students get excited as well, and makes the class a more enjoyable experience. She’s not afraid to make the students laugh in class, and the way she teaches makes the material really approachable for students. Her door is always open, and she is always willing to help with any problem.
“My other favorite professor is Dr. Morris. Again, his teaching style really makes the material easier to understand and more approachable. He is always available to offer help, and he is also not afraid to make the students laugh.”
“My favorite class so far has been Physical Chemistry. I like how in-depth it goes into what was already learned in General Chemistry. It’s difficult, but the way it is taught, it is easy to understand. It is a very math intensive course, and I like the math that is involved.”
“My toughest class so far has been Organic Chemistry. There was not a lot of math in those courses, which made it difficult for me. I am a person who likes a lot of math, and there was a lot in Organic that had to be visualized, which I’m not very good at.”
“I am involved in Chemistry Club. I am currently the outreach coordinator for the club, meaning I am in charge of setting up the various demonstrations the club does throughout the year. I am also a member of the Belly Dancing Club, and I am in both concert band and the pep band.”
Favorite moments at Carthage
“Some of my favorite moments have been being a lab assistant, becoming a lab fellow, and the time during J-Term freshman year when a chemical was spilled in the lab that turned the lab pink. It was just an interesting experience, something I will never forget. I’ve also enjoyed the demos we do in chemistry club, because I enjoy getting younger kids excited about chemistry and science.”
Biggest surprise so far?
“I’ve been surprised with how much work there is to do. I knew college was going to be a lot of work, but I wasn’t really prepared for how much work it was actually going to take. But I am also surprised with how much I have enjoyed the work. While it is a lot, I really enjoy the challenge of school and the work I am asked to do.”
Advice for other students considering your major
“Don’t shy away from chemistry because it gets tough. Chemistry is supposed to be tough, and although the requirements for the major are daunting, you really get in-depth with the material and you come out learning more than you ever thought you would, and you feel prepared to take the next steps in life and in whatever career in chemistry you are considering.”