Dec. 13, 2011
Graduate hopes to share passion for chemistry with future students
Colin Pettegrew enrolled at Northwest Missouri State University as a freshman because his parents were alumni of the University. Four years later, as he graduates with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry, the education he received at Northwest has motivated him to further his knowledge.
After his graduation from Northwest, Pettegrew, of St. Joseph, plans to pursue his master’s and doctorate degrees to become a professor.
“All the chemistry teachers at Northwest really care about their students, and it definitely shows,” he said. “I know I will take that example with me wherever I go.”
Pettegrew took part in several research projects during his time at Northwest. He worked with Dr. Rafiq Islam, professor of chemistry and physics, on research of nanoparticles and their properties. He also traveled to Southern Illinois University and University of Kansas during two separate summers to study computational chemistry, which uses computers to solve chemistry problems as part of a nationally funded research program.
“I wanted to get some research experience because it sets you up for graduate school and it tells you whether graduate school is a good fit for you,” he said. “I enjoyed both of my research programs so I knew graduate school was the right option for me.”
At Northwest, Pettegrew also worked as a chemistry tutor and a peer advisor to incoming freshmen. He urges students to take advantage of professors’ office hours, develop the kinds of relationships with professors that he enjoyed and develop a passion for the material they’re studying.
“I try to help my students get the most out of their time at Northwest by stressing that they should take advantage of professors’ office hours,” Pettegrew said. “You can’t beat talking one-on-one with the faculty because they are definitely willing to help, whether you might need to confirm something, have a question or you just don’t know how to work a problem.”
He added, “I’ve done research and I’ve worked with students as a lab assistant and tutor, and I really enjoyed both components. As a professor you get to do research and work with students on a daily basis to pass along your passion for your subject.”
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