Answering the "Why"
As an undergraduate student, I was lucky enough to have several professors who encouraged me to not simply learn information but to instead seek understanding as to why that information was held to be true. This desire to answer the "Why" question naturally led me to join a research group and then to graduate school in Chemistry. However, as time passed, it became clear that I was not satisfied with just answering that question myself. I instead wanted to help others come to appreciate the benefits of asking the "Why" question themselves. Consequently, I elected to pursue a career at a teaching-focused institution wherein even my own laboratory research could be used as a teaching tool to foster curiosity in the next generation of scientists.
Researching Antibiotic Resistance
Over the past several decades, antibiotics have provided significant health benefits to individuals throughout the world. These benefits, however, have always been complicated by the emergence of one notable issue among bacteria…antibiotic resistance. In short, bacteria develop survival mechanisms which allow them to remain viable in the presence of a particular antibiotic. My lab is therefore investigating strategies to overcome these survival mechanisms responsible for antibiotic resistance. Specifically, we chemically synthesize small molecules which are designed to shut down antibiotic resistance pathways. Removal of resistance then allows previously effective antibiotics to once again regain their potency. I love being able to interact with students both in the classroom and my research lab. Each of these spaces offers unique opportunities to challenge students intellectually and then celebrate their successes.
A Family-Like Culture
Mount Union possesses a family-like culture amongst its faculty and students. Being part of this Mount Union family helps students realize the importance of being authentic, of being good communicators, and of having a support system in a time of need. The students are thus able to grow both intellectually and personally during their time on campus.