Essay by Tiffany Hamilton

Tiffany Hamilton of Huntington Beach, CA, won the 2018 $600 Diana Mossip Local Group Scholarship.

My long-term career goal is to become a drug development chemist. In order to achieve that goal, I have chosen to study pharmacological chemistry at the undergraduate level before pursuing a doctorate in pharmacology. I have decided to study pharmacology and drug development because of the profound impact illness has had on the lives of so many, including my own. I lost my father to cancer when I was thirteen-years-old, and I hope to save others from such pain.

In order to prepare myself for a lifetime of research, I have begun working in a laboratory at my university’s medical school, where I hope to lead my own research projects by the time I graduate. I also play the clarinet and intend on declaring a minor in music because exploring my passions unrelated to my primary studies gives me a happy and balanced life.

Research positions are typically only available to upper-division students, but I was eager to get a headstart on my practical education and begin researching my freshman year. A professor at my university holds a summer research program for local high school students, so I reached out to him and asked to attend so that I could get a first glimpse at the laboratories here before I began my studies. After the program ended, I was fortunately given the opportunity to continue researching in the laboratory by assisting a graduate student with his research. The experiments require organic chemistry knowledge that I will not learn in the classroom until next year, but I see the challenge of learning on the fly as an opportunity to better prepare myself for the future. My graduate studies will consist of independent research in drug development, so I hope to manage my own research project during my junior and senior years so that I can fully prepare myself. I have set the more concrete goal of publishing my own research project in an academic journal as an undergraduate, and to also present this research at conferences.

Although I love chemistry and fully intend on devoting my career to the practice of it, music serves as an emotional outlet and source of immense fun, and for that reason I plan on including it in my academic goals. My university offers a Jazz in Paris study abroad course over the summer, which teaches the history of how jazz became popular in Paris through live performances in the city’s historic nightclubs. I plan on attending the seminar next summer if my finances will allow it, so that I can immerse myself in the beautiful city of Paris and its culture. I am also a member of the university’s Pepband, which performs at athletic competitions, parades, and other local events. My experiences in my high school’s marching band were some of the highlights of my time there, and I love the feeling of making music with others to entertain a happy audience and pump up a crowd during a big game.

I love chemistry and the way it explains–and hopefully solves–so many mysteries of nature. I can think of no better way to spend my life than doing what I love in order to help others, and my undergraduate research and study of music will undoubtedly help me follow that path.



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