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Budding forensic scientist discovers love of research

By Department of Chemistry

Chloe Ramsperger has been involved in our undergraduate research program since fall term. Originally from Lake Arrowhead, California, she attended Redlands High School in Redlands, CA. Always a fan of the CSI crime dramas, her interest in them inspired her to study forensic dentistry. After visiting the Oregon State University campus in her junior year of high school on the recommendation of her uncle, an alumnus, she decided to start her college career here at OSU. Since the Department of Chemistry has a forensic science option, it seemed like a clear choice for her major.

It was in her Careers in Chemistry class where Ramsperger first spoke with Rich Carter, a professor in the department, and learned about undergraduate research opportunities that coincided with her interests. The opportunity to get a head start on research, and the advantages it can provide for getting into graduate school later in her college career, was a major motivator for her to seek out a research group.

She also cites her experience in undergraduate research as an important part of why she enjoys chemistry so much. Her research in electrochemistry in biological environments, specifically oral bacterial interactions, fits well with her interests and presents its own opportunities to learn. Research doesn’t come with a lab manual, unlike a chemistry class would, and Ramsperger feels like it gives her a whole new perspective on her studies. Not every experiment goes perfectly and sometimes the data does more to find out what doesn’t work than what does. In a way, research is more about developing your own kind of lab manual.

Not all of her time is spent in the lab, though. She volunteers with her sorority, participates in intermural volleyball and still finds time to hang out with her friends. In hindsight, the one thing she wishes she had done when she first got to OSU was explore more of the opportunities and clubs on campus. She recommends students get out more and see everything the campus has to offer. At the end of the interview we learned that Ramsperger is happy that fall has settled in, as her favorite dessert is a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream!

We’re equally happy to have had the chance to talk to her about her experiences as an undergraduate researcher. Research can provide many opportunities for students to get a new perspective on their learning, find practical applications for their classes and discover new dimensions to their chosen major!

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