Megan Paul and Alicia Fink
HACH Foundation Scholarship Recipients in Chemistry
Megan Paul was a bit nervous after receiving an email invitation to a meeting with Sharon Hutchinson in the Chemistry Department. “I was really stressed about it. All it said was ‘come talk to me, I’ve got something important to tell you’.” She didn’t know if it would be bad news or good news. Fortunately, it was really good news – Dr. Hutchinson let her know at their meeting that Megan had been selected as the latest recipient of a scholarship supported by the HACH Foundation and administered by the American Chemical Society. The scholarship provides about $6000 per year to each recipient. Students who major in Chemistry and plan to teach high school are eligible to be considered for the award, and there can be two scholarship recipients at any one time.
Megan is a freshman, just now in her second semester at UI. The other current HACH Scholarship recipient, Alicia Fink, is in her last semester, looking forward to graduation, and has been a HACH Scholarship recipient for the past two years. Alicia is enthusiastic about the positive effect of the HACH Scholarship. “I think it’s invaluable”, she says. “This helps give better prepared Chemistry teachers in the schools – teachers who really know what they’re talking about.” In Alicia’s view, the lab experience provided by earning a degree in Chemistry is crucial to future teachers. She holds up her own experience as an example, having been involved in lab research since her freshman year. Working in the lab of Chemistry Department Chair Ray von Wandruszka, she has had the opportunity to learn the “detective work” involved in chemical analysis, has been involved in published research, and has presented results at a professional conference. “Working in Ray’s lab is the highlight of my week – it’s awesome.” In fact, the lab experience is what made the crucial difference that shaped Alicia’s educational plans. “If it weren’t for the research experience, I wouldn’t have stayed in Chemistry”, she says.