Why did you choose Texas A&M Chemistry?
Going to A&M is something of a tradition in my family, with degrees going to my mom, dad, uncle, sister, and two brothers!
I originally joined A&M as a chemical engineering major, but it was the fundamental aspects of chemistry that really excited me. A major turning point in my career came in my freshman year, when I learned the way in which the Schrödinger Equation provided a simple, clear, and essentially exact mathematical description of chemical bonding. The idea that all of chemistry rests upon this equation from physics and the mathematical challenge of solving it was simply too intriguing to pass up. I immediately began participating in the theoretical chemistry laboratory of Michael Hall, and I soon switched over to pursuing a double major in chemistry and math.
How has your Texas A&M education influenced your personal growth and professional success?
Texas A&M profoundly influenced me in many ways, but most importantly, it provided me with the training, support, and self-confidence to pursue ambitious scientific challenges. Throughout my undergraduate career, the university enthusiastically supported my research interests, offered flexibility in terms of my class requirements (allowing me to take graduate courses and a dual major), and provided encouragement and guidance in my pursuit of graduate fellowships (including the British Marshall Scholarship). Central to all of this was the outstanding mentorship that I received in the Chemistry Department. Texas A&M helped me to realize that the world was wide-open with opportunity, and it provided me with the training and skills to seize those opportunities.