Taylor Fernholz discovers “new and exciting things” while doing research in Chemistry labs

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Major: Chemistry Dream job: Analytical or inorganic chemist

Why did you choose Iowa State? I chose Iowa State because it has great science and engineering programs and, as an Iowa native, I was offered in-state tuition. The chemistry department is especially fantastic. In addition to that, I visited Iowa State’s campus in October of 2011 and thought it was amazing. I really love how beautiful the campus is year-round.   Why chemistry? In high school I found chemistry to be relatively easy. So when I was supposed to pick a major before orientation, it came down to chemistry and music, and I decided chemistry was a more viable career option. My Chem-101X class really sealed the deal – the professors convinced me that chemistry is the only major for me.

What types of classes are you taking at the moment? Currently I am taking mostly chemistry and math classes. Between Chem-211 Lab and my research assistantship, I am in the lab for twelve hours a week. With so much lab and Calc. 2 I definitely stay busy.

What are your favorite classes, or, what has your favorite class been? My favorite classes so far have been chemistry labs. Chem-177’s chemistry major-only lab was especially fun for me last semester. It was an awesome experience learning with a group of other chemistry majors.

What are you minoring in? Currently I am considering a minor in either bio-chemistry or religious studies. While the two are very different, I find both of them very interesting.

Have you studied abroad, or do you plan to? At this point I do not plan to study abroad. While it could be a great experience, Iowa State has everything a chemistry major could ever need! The chemistry department offers classes in all types of chemistry. Plus, for people like me who love research, there are over 30 professors looking for undergraduate assistants.   Are you a part of a learning community? I am currently a member of the Chemistry Learning Community (CLC) and it is absolutely amazing. I can always go to the peer mentor for help. We have a weekly class full of interesting speakers and review sessions. The professors and peer mentor are super excited every day to work with us, and we have really cool games and activities every other week.

What are you involved in on campus? Any extracirriculars? I play intramural basketball, broom-ball, and dodge-ball with my honors house, Anders. They are always super fun. I am also a trumpet player in the ISU Hockey Band. We play as the pep-band for all ISU hockey games.

Have you had any work experiences or internships while at Iowa State? I am currently working in Dr. Huang’s research group as an undergraduate assistant. It is a very different experience from my chemistry classes and it’s always interesting to me because we are doing research about new and exciting things. I learn something new almost every day.   Who is someone you look up to within your major? I really look up to the peer mentor of the Chemistry Learning Community, Shannon McClintock. She has been absolutely essential to my success this first year, and is always willing to help me. Shannon always has great advice about everything, its not limited to homework and studying.

What advice would you give to someone considering a major in chemistry? I would tell someone thinking about majoring in chemistry to give it a shot. Definitely get involved in the Chemistry Learning Community and meet a lot of other really cool chemistry majors.

What has been your most memorable experience at Iowa State University? My most memorable experience at ISU was definitely finishing the Jingle Jog 5k in December. The Jingle Jog is a Christmas-themed fundraiser for a scholarship.