Chevy Chase, Maryland
B.S. Chemical Engineering (biochemical emphasis) and Biochemistry
What first inspired you to study engineering?
I honestly can’t remember if I actually decided to studying engineering. I fell in love with AP Chemistry in high school, and so I decided to study something in that realm. And then I knew that engineers built things and solved problems, so I decided to study chemical engineering instead of just chemistry. However, I ended up wanting even more pure science to supplement my growing engineering knowledge, so I added a double major in biochemistry! I couldn’t be happier with how the two majors have complemented one another and broadened my field of expertise.
What was a highlight of your time at USC Viterbi?
I think my highlight has got to be something that just happened about an hour ago. I got the email from our CHE 480 Senior Design professor that my group had one the award for best chemical engineering senior design project! After working so hard for the entire semester, we were just absolutely thrilled. We all got on FaceTime and just screamed and laughed and took some selfies to commemorate the moment. It was an incredibly validating experience to have the work we put in be recognized in that way.
Are there any extracurricular activities or organizations you have been part of during your studies?
In my time at USC, I’ve been involved with Supplemental Instruction (SI), which has been such a meaningful organization for me. This is a Dornsife program wherein students who’ve taken a course and done well, hold open review sessions for students weekly and for exams. I started out teaching MATH 226/229 (multivariable calculus) for three semesters, and then switched to CHEM 322a/b (organic chemistry) for another three semesters. I’ve absolutely loved the opportunity to work with so many USC students in so many different majors, and feel like I’ve actually had an impact on their education. I’ve also worked with TrojanSupport, which is a peer-to-peer counseling organization that I became involved with right at the beginning. Since mental health is a really important issue for me, feeling like I’ve made even a small difference at USC in this realm is a rewarding thought. Professor Andrea Armani was kind enough to take me into her research lab, as well, starting sophomore year. I’ve also loved participating on the USC equestrian team, and served as their Regional Liaison. In my free time I also work out 5-6 times a week at CrossFit Muse.
Tell us about a project you have been working on that made an impact on you.
In Professor Armani’s lab, I was fortunate enough to be put on a very cool project that gave me a lot of fantastic experience. I worked on a bio-imaging probe, we hope eventually to be capable of both sensing and modulating bioelectric fields. This project required a ton of chemical synthesis, NMR, and purification via chromatography. I don’t think anything could have prepared me better for the research I’m now looking to undertake in graduate school. Even missing so much time in the lab due to COVID, working for Professor Armani over the 2019 summer gave me the experience that I needed to be sure I wanted to pursue a PhD, and to be admitted into an incredible program. With the help of my fantastic graduate mentor, Andre Kovach, I learned so much about best lab practices.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’ll be getting a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University! I’m starting this fall. I don’t know who I’ll be working for yet, since Stanford does rotations for the first year. However, I’m applying to their ChEM-H program, and looking to work at the engineering-health interface.
What is something you’ll miss most about USC?
I think I’m really going to miss the opportunity to just say hi to everyone, from best friends to acquaintances, on practically every walk between any two buildings. USC is such a small campus relative to its student population, I feel like I always see someone I know no matter where I am on campus. It’s a really fun experience to walk around and be reminded of how many connections you’ve made within the community. I’m really going to miss that, for sure.