Finding Her Future in the Lab
“The professors were all very helpful and the department had more instruments and opportunities for hands-on experience than at the other schools I looked at.”
Size does Matter
Finding a college can be a daunting task. Incoming freshmen are expected to carefully scrutinize every factor and examine every angle of all the schools they consider. With so many details to keep track of, the information could become overwhelming. However, some colleges stand apart, making the decision an easy one. This was the case for Abby Smith.
When beginning her college search, Abby was certain of three things: she wanted to be on the swim team, she wanted to major in science, and she wanted to go to a school close to home. She found these in the University of Evansville.
Although Abby grew up in the small town of Franklin, Indiana, she was no stranger to Evansville. She went to school in Franklin, but she had been a swimmer in Evansville throughout high school and was familiar with the town. Abby knew that UE already satisfied two of her requirements: she knew she could be on the swim team and her home was just a car ride away. The next thing she did was visit the campus to check out the chemistry department. “The professors were all very helpful,” Abby said. “And the department had more instruments and opportunities for hands-on experience than at the other schools I looked at.” These prospects were too good for Abby to turn down.
Life As An Ace
Since her first day as an official Ace, Abby has participated in all facets of college life: she’s president of the Chemistry Club, and she’s a Chemistry Ambassador. This means she speaks with prospective chemistry majors to give them a first-hand account of what it means to be part of that department. Abby is also a swimmer, a member of the Chi Omega sorority, and part of multiple honor societies. She’s made a lot of friends through these organizations, and she feels the size of the campus contributes to the bonds she has made. “I really enjoy walking across campus and seeing people I know.” UE is like home to Abby, and she feels connected with both the students and the faculty. “I have a good relationship with all my professors, and I never hesitate to ask them for help if I need it. I know they want to help me succeed.”
Creating Her Future in the Lab
Abby has had many opportunities to work with the professors of the chemistry department, but Andy Lampkins has to be Abby’s favorite professor on campus. “I’ve spent a lot of time with him, between the classes and the research projects,” she said. “He’s great to work with and just a cool guy in general.” Lampkins is a professor in organic chemistry, which is what Abby wants to study in graduate school.
Part of the reason why Lampkins is such a popular professor is his teaching style. “He’s good about making sure that students are given a lot of independence in their research projects. He’s there if you need help, but he also lets you work on your own and try your own thing.” This independence in the lab helps students better understand what they’re doing and ensures that they’re getting the most out of their learning experience.
Opportunities for Students
During her time at UE, Abby has helped with research projects, both during the semester and during the summer. Last fall, she presented her research at an American Chemical Society meeting, and was recently named a 2015 Goldwater Scholar by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. She has accepted an internship with Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical research firm in Indianapolis, where she will be doing organic synthesis research – which is something she had been working on during her projects with UE.
Abby Smith has enjoyed her time at UE and offers this advice to prospective students: “Don’t be afraid to talk with professors and get involved with things on campus.” She admits that she was afraid at first, but once she started branching out, opportunities began to open up for her. “It has helped me decide what I want to do; it has helped me decide my future.”