Chemistry Student & Alumni Stories
Ann Haftl, BS + MS Chemistry '19
Degree: BS + MS Chemistry '19, Concentration in Biochemistry, Certificate in Philosophy of Science and Technology
Research Interests: Drug discovery and rational design; biochemistry; organic synthesis and peptide synthesis; disease prevention and treatment
Co-ops: Research Assistant, Drexel College of Medicine (two co-ops)
Extracurricular Activities: American Chemical Society, The Triangle, Maya literary magazine, Pennoni Honors College, Rock to the Future (a nonprofit musical education group for underprivileged kids in Philadelphia)
Awards: Bruce and Cynthia Maryanoff Prize for Research, First-Year 4.0 GPA Award, Dean's List
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Erin Katz, BS Chemistry '19
Degree: BS Chemistry '19
Research Interests:: Atmospheric Chemistry
What are you most proud of from your time at Drexel?
My involvement in student organizations like Drexel Sierra Club and Dragon Flow Arts Collective.
Best course you took and why:
Qualitative Organic Chemistry — even though the lab was all day on Saturdays. It was really thought provoking and exciting. Each student was given a unique set of six mystery compounds, and we had almost the entire lab at our disposal to figure out what each compound was. We also had to synthesize/purify two derivatives from each compound. Professor Wambsgans was the perfect teacher for the class.
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Victoria Smith, BS Chemistry '19
It was 4 a.m. when Victoria Smith stepped off the plane in Banjul, the capital city of the Gambia. The lights in the terminal flickered and then shut off completely. Two minutes of complete darkness passed before the generator kicked on.
Over the next six months, the Drexel junior would grow accustomed to the sudden power outages while on co-op as a nurse’s assistant at Bwaim General Hospital, a facility that operates without electricity for eight to nine hours per day.
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Kiana Williams, BA Chemistry '19
Degree: BA Chemistry '19, Minor in Biological Sciences.
Leadership Highlights: President, Drexel African Fusion Dance Team; Conducted research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an HHMI Exceptional Research Opportunity Program Fellow; Developed education and dance programs aimed at improving neurocognition in Alzheimer’s patients
Kiana Williams has conducted research on cancer-causing enzyme misregulation, engaged patients in programming at a children’s hospital, and cared for infants with severe medical conditions. A mentor to underprivileged middle school students, Williams is a strong believer in inspiring people to work together — a motivation that underlies her goal of becoming a medical doctor.
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Matthew Levine, BS Chemistry '18
Despite the widespread availability of pharmaceutical drugs, many of us know little about how they are created. Senior Chemistry major Matthew Levine shares an inside view of the drug development process from his two co-ops at global pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.
Levine was the first undergraduate to work with the team of scientists in GSK's synthetic biochemistry group. The team is interested in biocatalysis — the process by which natural substances like enzymes are used to boost chemical reactions. The enzymes are tested for specific reactions that may increase the effectiveness of a drug's active pharmaceutical ingredient.
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Ashley Phetsanthad, BS + MS Chemistry '18
Ashley Phetsanthad '18 is in Drexel's Accelerated BS + MS in Chemistry program, which means she'll graduate having earned two degrees in five years. We sat down with Ashley to learn more about her co-ops, classes and favorite Drexel experiences.
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