Marika Takemura '14

Marika Takemura

Senior

Cebu City, Philippines

Chemistry Major

Marika's research involves making new anhydrous compounds of iron complexes that promote green chemistry.

Tell us more about your research.

The research promotes green chemistry, and the biological relevance includes the production of biologically active compounds common to penicillin through the use of catalyst in a more efficient manner. The research began as a series of chemistry independent studies beginning winter term of my sophomore year. I worked around four hours with Professor Hoyt to strategize and learn new techniques, and the other four hours involved individual work.

What inspired you to pursue the project?

I enjoy doing the experiments, modifying procedures, writing reports, presenting my research, wondering why such a method would not work, etc. Although tedious at times, research is always enjoyable. Whether or not I will pursue a future in industrial or green chemistry, I know that the research experience will help me grow as a better scientist.

Marika Takemura '14 in the chemistry lab

What was the best part of your research?

The best part of my research experience was learning new lab techniques and methods that minimize water exposure to our compounds. These are techniques that I would not normally learn in undergraduate level chemistry courses. I am also honored to have the opportunity to learn how to use Knox's first glove box (a tool that allows all traces of oxygen, water, and other airborne solvents to be removed from compounds). In addition, having the choice of what to do in the lab, when to run reactions, and what new reactions to study made me feel like a real scientist.

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Professor Hoyt has been a strong, influential faculty member in helping me become a better research scientist. I had an opportunity to know her when I was a teaching assistant (TA) for Tuesday evening general chemistry labs. She offered me the opportunity to work with her on her research, and we've been rolling since then. She encouraged me to participate in Horizons and to apply for various science summer research fellowship grants.