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April 27, 2016
Dylan Anstine knew he wanted to study science when he decided to attend Northwest Missouri State University. He didn’t know, however, how far his college education could take him.
Four years later, the Raymore, Missouri, native is leaving Northwest with his bachelor’s degree in nanoscience with an emphasis in physics. He’s had his research published in three journals with a fourth publication on the way. Now he’s headed to the University of Florida to pursue a Ph.D. in material science and engineering.
“A huge emphasis Northwest has is to put the responsibility into the students’ hands, and especially with science,” Anstine said. “It’s one thing to sit in class and learn about a certain process, but it’s another thing to get into the lab and look at that process, or do that process with your hands, to actually see the science in person. Northwest puts a huge emphasis on that, which has really helped me decide what I want to do. “
Anstine followed his older brother, Troy, to Northwest and found himself swallowed up in the campus’ “overwhelming Bearcat pride.”
“Every time I came to visit my brother, everybody felt like family,” Anstine said. “It didn’t feel like you were walking next to strangers when you were going to class. There was so much campus pride that it was hard to ignore.”
In the beginning, there also was pizza.
“When I was a freshman in Freshman Seminar, Dr. Joel Benson walked in with pizza for everyone,” Anstine recalled. “I remember thinking, ‘My god, is this really what college is like? Pizza all the time?’ I’ll tell you after four years, it’s definitely not like that. It’s definitely a lot more work than that.
In addition to spending many nights at Northwest’s Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and conducting his independent research, Anstine was a member of the Honors Student Association, the Residence Hall Association and National Residence Hall Honorary.
He says Northwest helped him become a more well-rounded individual and appreciate varied perspectives. His experiences at the University also helped him develop his character, dive deeper into issues and be solution-oriented.
“The people at Northwest are some of the most unique and diverse people,” he said. “There’s tons of different mindsets, and you meet people from all over the world. It’s influenced me and the way that I think because I’ve been able to build relationships with people that I wouldn’t be able to build relationships with otherwise.”
Anstine calls his publications – in addition to passing organic chemistry – his proudest accomplishments at Northwest.
He co-authored two studies with Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Himadri Chakraborty about the way carbon systems interact with laser light. Anstine published a third research paper in the journal Dalton Transactions as part of the Royal Society of Chemistry Journals as the result of his study abroad experience last summer at a research laboratory in Strasbourg, France. There, Anstine analyzed transition metal complexes and their unique stabilizing factors, and he’ll have a second paper resulting from his research in France published later this year in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.
Anstine sought a study abroad experience last summer to add some additional diversity to his education. He found a three-month program in France that met his needs and relished the experience.
“It’s a totally different experience seeing things in person,” Astine said. “You can read about the Eiffel Tower, but seeing the Eiffel Tower in person is a totally different experience. For me, it was just a way to explore things that I’d always learned about but never had the opportunity to see. There was research but also a lot of time to play.”
He also presented his research in a poster presentation session in March at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego.
“Northwest has given me the opportunity to put science in my hands and work with professors one-on-one or one-on-two, and that’s led to some publications and scientific journals and helped me out along the way,” Anstine said.
He added, “I know a lot of people see it as the ending of a lot of work that you’ve done in four years, five years of college, and you get this piece of paper that says you did it. For me a college degree has always been a starting point, not an ending point.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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