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Noah Tufts in front of black background

Oregon native pursues interest in organic chemistry

By Department of Chemistry

Noah Tufts is an enthusiastic undergraduate in our research program. Growing up in and around the Portland area, he attended Forest Grove High School. Since his father was a chemist, Noah grew up with a knowledge of what chemistry was and how it worked, which helped encourage his curiosity.

High school gave him an opportunity to better develop his understanding and even take on his own experiments in material science! Once he received his acceptance letter to Oregon State, he was sold. The opportunities in undergraduate research, as well as getting to stay closer to home and the lower cost of in-state tuition helped to solidify his choice.

Getting involved in undergraduate research was also something he knew he wanted to experience. By his second year at OSU, Noah was determined to get more involved in the department and research opportunities that existed. Despite being turned down for his first few attempts, he kept reaching out and meeting people in his classes and in the department. Finally, working with his experimental chemistry teaching assistant, he reached out to organic chemistry professor Chris Beaudry and expressed his enthusiasm for his current research project. When offered the opportunity to sit in on the research meetings, he made a point of attending every one and getting to know the people involved in the project. Now he is a valuable member of the Beaudry lab group and thrilled to be helping to drive this valuable research forward.

Noah also recommended reaching out and talking to people involved in research. By speaking to TAs, grad students and the people involved in research, you have a greater chance of getting involved in the projects that inspire you and find the people who will vouch for you to join their labs. This network is also extremely helpful in moving into employment or graduate school at the end of your undergraduate work. Having people who know you and can speak to your experience is invaluable!

While research gives you the opportunity to be involved in a practical application of your education, it also exists as an extension of your learning. Research gives you an opportunity to learn through experimentation in addition to your standard educational experience. It is also very self-driven with opportunities to interact with others when needed versus a usual lecture while you are a single student among many others.

When not working with his lab or studying, Noah is very involved in the martial arts. With 15 years of Taekwondo under his belt, he is also beginning Judo through the physical activity classes offered on campus. He also plays guitar and enjoys hanging out with friends and relaxing. Though, as we discovered at the end of the interview, he also has a special place in his heart for an excellent slice of cheesecake.

We got the chance to do a video interview with Noah where you can listen to our full discussion!

Read more stories about: students, undergraduate research