By: Lauren Andrews
Lauren Andrews is a third-year Chemistry major with an American Chemical Society (ACS) concentration and a minor in biology. In her free time, Lauren volunteers with Muncie Mission, and also likes to take care of plants, draw, paint, embroider, and spend time outside. Lauren is an Honors College undergraduate research fellow in chemistry and organic synthesis. For her fellowship, she mainly does hands-on work in the lab but also does some literature review.
How and why did you get involved in an Honors undergraduate fellowship?
I had originally gone to a Women in Chemistry breakfast event my freshman year. At the event, the upperclassmen shared their research experiences and emphasized the importance of getting involved in research. A professor there also informed me of the opportunities involved in the Honors College fellowship. From there I went around talking to different chemistry professors and reading about their research on the chemistry faculty page. I met with a couple professors and finally ended up working with Dr. Shi.
What is the most challenging part of your fellowship?
The hardest part for me was the original learning curve of the material. I think anyone can do the hands-on work in the lab once they get comfortable with the materials and equipment, but the real challenge is understanding what you’re doing and how the molecules are interacting in the flask you’re holding. Reading through all the literature to understand the bigger picture of the work we are doing was a very daunting task that took me a while to get through, but once I did it made the work that much more enjoyable.
How has your fellowship helped you grow professionally, academically, and/or personally?
The fellowship has been a great experience for me! I’ll admit that I originally just did it to check off boxes on a future application, however, I enjoyed my time participating in research much more than I had expected. Because of this, I ended up changing my career goals and think I landed in a much better fit.
I originally came to college as a pre-med chemistry double major, however now I am just a chemistry major with the intention of going to graduate school and pursuing research.
What advice would you give to other Honors students who are interested in pursuing a fellowship?
I would strongly encourage them to seek out any opportunities offered by the honors college; they always end up exceeding my expectations. Participating in research also helps to orient you in your department so that you get more familiar with the people and the equipment (especially in the hard sciences).
If you’d like to learn more about Lauren, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.