Upon entering college, my ambitions were to obtain a PhD in biochemistry and become a nutritional specialist. I wanted to model my life after the natural pro body builder Layne Norton, who has a PhD in nutritional sciences. My knowledge of chemistry was limited; I only knew the chemical symbols of a few elements and had trouble balancing chemical reactions. But on the first day of general chemistry, my life changed when Dr. Thomas Spence began his lecture by saying, “This will be the hardest class thus far in your academic career.” Most of the other students were in shock, but my competitive nature led me to look at the class as a challenge. I unleashed the competitiveness, determination, and focus which I’d previously applied only to playing college baseball in a new arena: chemistry. My work ethic and time management skills developed from balancing college baseball and advanced chemistry courses. By the end of my first year, my wonderful experience with a Jesuit education had me rethinking my long-term career plan.
My interest in chemistry has been fueled by advanced chemistry courses, several research projects, and numerous extracurricular activities. Of all of my experiences here at Loyola, my most significant accomplishments have come from research, as well as tutoring students in chemistry and mathematics. Over the past two years I have had the privilege of sharing my knowledge of organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, and physical chemistry with fellow classmates and colleagues. I have presented 5 posters at National and Regional ACS meetings and 3 oral presentations. I have also been able to establish critical thinking and effective communication by teaching an organic chemistry problem solving session for an entire organic chemistry class, private tutoring for science classes, and being a teacher’s assistant for two chemistry classes here at Loyola. These specific ideals have genuinely influenced my future career goals and were possible because I attend a Jesuit college. Sharing my research experiences and tutoring others has been so enjoyable that, after graduation, I have decided to attend Yale University to pursue doctoral studies. My love for chemistry through Jesuit education deepened through sharing my chemistry knowledge and research experience with others. The rigorous advanced classes and Jesuit education offered at Loyola University has therefore prepared me for Yale’s graduate research program in a unique way. My pursuit of excellence has been specifically fueled by the faculty at Loyola and by the Loyola baseball team, who share the Jesuit ideals of the university. Receiving a Jesuit education is undoubtedly a reason why Yale University considered my application and is ultimately giving me to the opportunity to perform graduate research. Furthermore, this effort has been fueled by my future career plans which is to hopefully teach on a graduate level. Teaching is the way I plan to take my service to others.
My respect for the world, appreciation of things both great and small, commitment to service, linking faith with justice, and a special concern for the poor and oppressed can be accredited, but not limited to, my mission service in Belize. This trip was assuredly one of the most fascinating and influential experiences of my life. Father Ted Dziak as well as Jesuit opportunity gave me the privilege to fulfill a personal goal of mine. This goal is centered on my concern for the poor and oppressed. While in Belize I saw things much differently than I see them in the United States. My respect for the world is a direct correlation to the lifestyle that I became accustomed to in Belize. Service can be accredited to teaching Belizean children both in the classroom and on the baseball field. I am reminded about the higher ideals of Jesuit education every time I step onto campus. They have ultimately created me into the whole man that I am today. I specifically want to the thank the Loyola baseball team, the chemistry department, and the entire Loyola community for attributing to some of the best years of my life.