Hometown: Dexter, N.Y.
Beyond HWS: Brooks will study synthetic chemistry at Penn State University at State College
“I came to Hobart and William Smith as a Blackwell Medical Scholar, but once I got on campus, I really started to enjoy chemistry. During my sophomore summer, I worked in Associate Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean of Faculty Christine de Denus’ lab. That is when I was sure that chemistry was my future. Until HWS, I didn’t know you could do more with science than just being a medical doctor.
I’ve been part of Christine’s research group since that summer–I even helped train the student who joined the group earlier this year. The past couple of years, I’ve really focused on molecular wires, which became the basis of my Honors project. In the end, I developed a better method to produce potential molecular wire candidates that could replace the silicone chip.
Kristen Kush ’12, my close friend and a fellow member of my research group, also completed Honors, and it was great to be able to work with her as we got toward the end. The day before our papers were due, the two of us holed up in Christine’s office with her for 12 hours, working on edits and giving each other feedback. Christine is a great adviser and a wonderful mentor.
Honors looked great on my grad school applications as it proved that I can complete work at that level. But, more than that, Honors allowed me to delve into chemistry on a new level and helped me focus the scope of my passion. It made me appreciate what I’ve learned in my classes, drawing on all my coursework to complete my project.
In the fall, I will begin a program at Penn State to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemistry. My personal goal is to make “old” chemistry greener by finding ways to replace harmful and highly-reactive chemicals with environmentally-safe substitutes that are at least as reliable as the older methods. I’m sure I’ll continue to draw on the knowledge I learned and the relationships I built at Hobart and William Smith.”