ASU biochemistry senior spreads love of science and research


January 17, 2018

Editor's note: This profile is part of a series showcasing students in the School of Molecular Sciences.

Jacob Jordan is a senior majoring in biochemistry and is the current president of ASU’s branch of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS), which allows students to participate in community outreach and spread their love of science both on and off campus. Recently, Jordan and SAACS helped out at ASU’s Homecoming 2017, where they conducted chemistry to showcase the power of the science to the Homecoming crowd. SMS Student Jacob Jordan Jacob Jordan, SMS biochemistry student, will receive his BS in May 2018. Download Full Image

Jordan has also worked extensively in Professor Jeff Yarger’s research lab, where he researched silkworm silk structure using NMR along with other projects.

“His curiosity and general interest in numerous areas of science and mathematics has been wonderful to have in the group and has led to Jacob contributing significantly to several projects happening in my group," Yarger said. "Furthermore, Jacob is responsible for my group starting several new research collaborations and has taken the group research in several new and interesting directions. It is wonderful to see a student excel and learn from research projects the way Jacob has over the past few years.”

Question: When did you first realize that you wanted to study the field you are majoring in?

Answer: I first realized that I wanted to study biochemistry during my third year of high school, when I started to learn about the incredible things that are possible with modern biochemical techniques. I also became very interested in the amazing complexity of natural systems and their underlying physical mechanisms.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because of the incredible amount of research opportunities available at this university. I actually started working with Professor Jeff Yarger (professor of chemistry, biochemistry and physics at Arizona State University) in high school, when I needed to use a piece of equipment in the labs at ASU for a research project. When I was thinking about college, I wanted to continue my research at ASU’s amazing research facilities.

Q: What research opportunities have you had as a student here, and can you describe your research experience?

A: I have been lucky enough to be able to do research heavily during my first two years at ASU. My research experience at ASU heavily involved peer-mentorship in the laboratory and, after such time that I became confident in my lab skills, leading my own projects. In Professor Yarger’s lab, I began researching silkworm silk structure using NMR. I was also in charge of raising and isotopically labeling silkworms as well. I have done a few other research projects around the department, although still in Professor Yarger’s group, notably with Konrad Rykaczewski in the engineering department about hydrophobicity of wax surfaces in cacti and in web-spinner insects. I have also helped in some research into silica nanoparticle peptide bond catalysis for alanine while in Professor Yarger's group. The faculty at ASU has always been extremely supportive in helping me complete research projects.

Q: What are some extracurricular activities that you enjoy at ASU? 

A: I started becoming involved in the student affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) during my freshman year and eventually became president of the club by my junior year. Through SAACS, I have been able to perform chemistry demonstrations at local schools, help K–12 students touring ASU understand fundamental chemistry concepts, and aid schools in cultivating outstanding scientists through involvement in science fairs and poster-presentation sessions.

Q: What’s something you have learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: Something I've learned at ASU is just how much you can accomplish when you really dedicate yourself to something. I never would have seen myself as someone who would be proficient at biochemical techniques or biophysical characterization methods four years ago. Now, after taking numerous courses and dedicating myself to studying, I am able to see my growth and feel confident in my understanding of certain scientific concepts.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to students interested in coming to ASU to study chemistry or biochemistry?

A: The best piece of advice I can give to students entering chemistry or biochemistry at ASU is to study hard and try to get involved in undergraduate research opportunities. This not only gives you valuable experience that will definitely put you at an advantage when you graduate, but it also helps you connect with the professors at ASU and research professionals around the world. You can never know too many people in your profession.

intern, School of Molecular Sciences

ASU chemistry student shows passion for environmental chemistry, oceanography


January 17, 2018

Editor's note: This profile is part of a series showcasing students in the School of Molecular Sciences.

Logan Tegler is a senior majoring in chemistry and minoring in English literature at Arizona State University. Originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, she is a student at Barrett, The Honors College as well as a President’s Scholarship recipient, and has made the Dean’s List every semester of her impressive undergraduate career. SMS Student Logan Tegler Logan Tegler, a senior majoring in chemistry and minoring in English literature at ASU, will receive her BS in chemistry in May 2018. Download Full Image

Tegler has a truly inspiring passion for environmental chemistry and oceanography and she has taken full advantage of the research opportunities provided to students at the School of Molecular Sciences by conducting research in Professor Ariel Anbar’s lab. 

“Logan’s been an exceptional member of my research team since the start of her sophomore year," Anbar said. "It has been a pleasure to see her develop a passion for isotope geochemistry and chemical oceanography. This interest ultimately led her to a summer internship at the Woods Hole Oceanography Institute, where she forged a new research partnership between my lab and one of their research groups that is breaking important new ground in understanding the chemistry of ancient oceans. Logan has a very bright future ahead of her!”

Tegler has been awarded two NASA Space Grant Fellowships and worked as a Summer Student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 2017.

Question: When did you first realize that you wanted to study chemistry?

Answer: As a high school senior, I was passionate about both my chemistry and English classes. So, as a college freshman, I began as a dual major in biochemistry and journalism with the goal of becoming a science writer. While I loved taking classes in both of these fields, I realized that I really enjoyed lab work. Now, I hope to pursue a career in research and spend my free time writing freelance science articles for popular consumption.

Q: What research opportunities have you had as a student here, and can you describe your research experience?

A: I started working with Dr. Ariel Anbar my sophomore year, more specifically with graduate student Alyssa Sherry, who trained me in laboratory fundamentals. During my tenure in Dr. Anbar’s lab, I’ve had many amazing opportunities including conducting research on three projects, presenting at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall meeting (the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world) and the upcoming 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, being awarded two NASA Space Grant Fellowships, and having the opportunity to work as a Summer Student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 2017. My Barrett senior thesis work, which is in conjunction with the research I did at WHOI, focuses on using osmium and iron isotopic analysis of deep-sea pelagic sediments in an attempt understand the importance of various iron sources to the ocean over the last 0–65 million years.

Q: What’s something you have learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: While at ASU, I had the opportunity to study both science and liberal arts. During my junior year, I took an English class titled "Whiteness and Critical Race Theory" taught by Dr. Lee Bebout. In addition to expanding my overall view on race theory and equality, this class also encouraged me to seek more diversity in STEM fields.

Q: What is your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot to study is at the Starbucks at the MU. In addition to a favorable proximity to caffeine, I particularly enjoy studying there because I never know whom I’ll run into. During my four years, I’ve met many classmates and friends who are always willing to take a break from studying and talk about their passion for their chosen field.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A: I hope to conduct research in chemical oceanography and isotope geochemistry to make data-driven inferences about the nature of the ocean’s history. After obtaining my PhD, I hope to become a faculty member who conducts novel research and helps students begin their research careers.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to students interested in coming to ASU to study chemistry or biochemistry?

A: First, I highly recommend going to office hours. In addition to pinpointing weaknesses or misunderstandings a student may have, they can gain a greater appreciation for the material. Second, I recommend that students get involved with research early in their college careers. By doing this, students can identify the areas of research that are the most interesting to them. Additionally, by the time they are juniors and seniors, they will be able to conduct research independently and begin to formulate answers to their own questions!

intern, School of Molecular Sciences