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TU Alumna Taylor Lewis on the Formula for Success in the World of Chemistry

Tiffin University is proud to be a home for many prestigious undergraduate programs across a wide array of disciplines. Moreover, community members get great pleasure from learning of the many ways alumni go on to make significant contributions to their respective fields. One area in particular where TU feels its graduates shine is in science-related careers. This is a testament to the quality of education these individuals receive from faculty mentors. Alumna and current Ph.D. candidate Taylor Lewis agrees with this sentiment and attributes much of her successes in the field and in academia to the foundational knowledge she gained as an undergrad.

Taylor graduated from TU in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forensic Science. She is now pursuing a doctoral degree in physical chemistry at The University of California, Riverside and several of her recent academic research papers have been recognized through publication in prestigious academic journals. Taylor describes her degree track as the marriage of two distinct sciences. She said, “I am working on my Ph.D. in physical chemistry, which is the bridge between physics and chemistry. I am focused on the field of ultrafast laser spectroscopy, and study the fundamental kinetics of unique energetic and photomechanical materials.”

In short, this kind of laser-based study allows researchers to see how certain forms of matter absorb or emit electromagnetic radiation (varying forms of light) within very fast timescales. Taylor uses this to study

how energetic materials (solar cells, explosives etc.) react on the atomic level to changes in the light spectrum, and how they respond to these stimuli with emission, heat generation or movement. This breakthrough laser technology allows researchers to resolve data much quicker than what was previously possible, streamlining the process of discovery.

Taylor is grateful to TU for exposing her to a range of niche sciences, from which she pinpointed the exact track for her.

“TU’s forensic science program gave me a basis of knowledge in the physical sciences and helped guide me to the type of career path I was most interested in,” said Taylor. “While no undergrad education can fully prepare one for a Ph.D. program, my undergrad courses helped me understand how to conduct a physical research experiment, and the mentors I had at TU helped me land research internships. These internships did a lot to prepare me for grad school.”

When asked about her time spent as a TU student, Taylor said “I liked the sense of community at TU and in the surrounding area. It’s very different being at a large research institution where you don’t know everyone that works in your building. In Tiffin, I could walk down the street and would know and say hi to every single person.”

In the matter of whether TU’s science programs prepare graduates for professional success, the proof is in the proverbial pudding with Taylor. Having recently published academic articles in both the “Journal of the American Chemical Society” and in “The Royal Society of Chemistry,” she has shown herself to be a capable budding research scientist, already producing findings beneficial to the greater scientific community, despite her short tenure in this line of work. The link(s) to her research publications can be found at

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.1c08176

https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2021/cp/d1cp03515k