Chemistry Major, Biochemistry Minor
Gbenga Ojo is conducting research in Professor Tom Clayton's lab, where
he's making new mixed copper carboxylate dimers and investigating their
properties using lab instruments. By the end of the project, his goal is to learn about how to lower the melting points of the dimers and their viscosity, as well as the interactions between the dimers made and caprolactam. In addition to his research, Gbenga also had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Thomas Whittle at the OSF Galesburg Clinic.
How did you learn about the research and shadowing opportunities?
I have done some independent research with Professor Clayton, which culminated into this research experience. In regards to the shadowing opportunity, I spoke to Terrie Saline (at the Bastian Family Center for Career & Pre-Professional Development) to see if there was an opportunity, and she was glad to help set it up.
What's been the best part?
One of the coolest things about working with copper is that it makes pretty colorful compounds and solutions. One of the coolest things I have seen shadowing was probably the removal of a port from a patient's chest at the clinic.
Can you give an example of how your classroom experiences at Knox have helped you?
The lab sections of biology and chemistry classes, especially Organic Chemistry with Professor Cermak, taught me the necessary skills, the ability to think about questions, and query about what reactions I am setting up. The science classes have also proved very helpful, especially when I am with Dr. Whittle and there are cases that I am sort of familiar with based on the background information I have from the classes.
How do you think this experience will benefit you in terms of your future plans?
Personally, I think exposure is critical to one's development, as it gives you an opportunity to work on an inquiry and look for ways to try to solve problems. Research in science is as much art as it is science, and getting used to the set up early on could be crucial for a graduate student.