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Student Testimonials

Chemistry undergraduates

Student Voices

A few of our current and former students share their thoughts about the Chemistry program at Pacific and where it has led them.

  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - Farah Shaheen 2011 

    As a biochemistry student at the University of the Pacific, I had an incredible experience. From the very beginning, all of my professors in the chemistry department have been very supportive. Whenever I needed to talk to any of them, whether it was about academics or my future goals, they would always be there to offer advice and encouragement. Through classes such as Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Organic Chemistry, I learned to think about things from different angles and gained a greater appreciation for the field itself. Because of my desire to take learning beyond the textbook, I became an undergraduate researcher during my junior year, which was a phenomenal experience. I had the privilege of working closely with Dr. Xue and the graduate students, and I learned more than I ever could have imagined. Everyone was very helpful and friendly, where I really felt like a member of the team. I was able to present our work at the ACS Conference and at PURCC, where my team received the award for Best Poster. When I learned that our paper had been accepted for publication, I was thrilled.  In the end, I feel that the outstanding education that I received at Pacific is what led me to be accepted into my top choice for medical school.

    Farah Shaheen (B.S. Biochemistry; graduated in 2011 and will be attending UC Davis School of Medicine)

  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - Mik Minier 2010 

    "...Chemistry at Pacific is of top quality. Unlike other small chemistry departments, Pacific's chemistry department has a graduate program. This means that the professors are active in research and that undergraduate students have the opportunity to join a lab and try research. That alone outweighs the typical disadvantages small departments have with limited course offerings. Pacific also stresses the importance of quality teaching and as a result, the chemistry department houses faculty who care about their student's learning progress. Because of all the above, being a student in this department has more than adequately prepared me to pursue graduate studies in chemistry. I joined a research group at the beginning of my junior year and got hands on research experience in organic synthesis and biochemistry. Since then I got the opportunity to present my findings at ACS meetings and I also got published. I was able to learn tremendous amounts of chemistry in the rigorous courses I took and I have found every professor in the department approachable and friendly. The preparation Pacific's chemistry department gave me was good enough to get me accepted into the top graduate chemistry programs at Stanford and MIT..."
    Mik Minier (B.S. Biochemistry B.A. Mathematics and Asian Studies; attending MIT starting fall 2010 as a chemistry PhD candidate)

  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - Logan Ahlstrom 2008  "...My undergraduate experience at Pacific has both amply prepared and inspired me to complete a graduate program in Chemistry. I received offers to study Chemistry in several renowned Ph.D. programs, upon acceptance each referring to the extensive and unique research experience I have garnered in Physical Chemistry, Theoretical Chemistry, and Molecular Biology. Moreover, these experiences have provided a comfortable confidence while in the laboratory that will prove invaluable in the completion of my future research degree..."
    Logan Ahlstrom (graduated 2008, University of Arizona, Ph. D. candidate)
  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - Nikmala Tan 2008  "...My experience as a Biochemistry student at the University of the Pacific has influenced my life tremendously. As a freshman, I knew I wanted a career in science, but had not yet decided on which field. My interactions with the chemistry professors have helped influence my choice to pursue a career in pharmaceutical research. I gained the interest in research while doing undergraduate research at the Chemistry Department. As a part of my undergraduate education I have been taking part in biochemical research as well as organic synthesis. This research involves the synthesis and testing of new glycosidase inhibitors, which can potentially be used to synthesize future drugs against cancers, diabetes and other diseases. I have learned how to utilize current instrumental methods such as NMR and Mass Spectrometry. The research experience is very important because of my aspirations of becoming an industrial pharmacist and pharmaceutical researcher."
    Nikmala Tan (graduated 2008, UOP Pharmacy School)
    Nikmala Tan at the fume hood
  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - Chenee SanMarcos 2008  "...I was not really a fan of atoms and molecules when I finished my high school chemistry class because everything seemed so abstract and vague until I became an American Chemical Society (ACS) Project SEED Student for two summers at the University of the Pacific and worked with professors who are very intelligent and  enthusi- astic about what they do. It was during my Project SEED experience when everything about atoms and molecules became interesting. I saw atomic and molecular motions via computer animations. I was able to synthesize compounds and purify them through distillation and other methods. I loved the experience and wanted to repeat it, and I thought to myself that I will only be able to do those things and work with the same professors if I go in the chemistry field and go to Pacific and I did! As biochemistry freshman major, I have not repeated those experiences yet, not just yet, but I'm getting there! =)..."
    Chenee San Marcos (2008)
  • Chemistry High School Testimonial - Ekeoma Nwadibia 2007  "...My experience in chemistry at the University of the Pacific was great! The Chemistry Department is like a small community: not only do students get to know one another, but the faculty also get to know the students, and vice versa. The community at UOP and my wonderful research experience there was a major influence in my decision to study undergraduate chemistry..."
    Ekeoma Nwadibia (ACS-SEED student 2004/05, UCLA chemistry B. S., Columbia University - Chemistry Ph. D. candidate 2011)
  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - John Tan 2006  "...Chemistry is a way of life; a mindset taught through understanding and conceptual learning. I can say with strong conviction that my didactic and research experience fully prepared me to take on any research challenges and conceptual problems - even if the problem is not directly related to chemistry. That is the strong educational foundation set forth by my educational experiences. Pacific's unique approach and very small classes have provided a more intimate learning environment, where experienced lecturers can inspire thought through vibrant discussion and encourages critical thinking. Combined with a myriad of research opportunities, I was able to build upon what I learned in the didactic setting and apply my knowledge to real-world problems. However, there are many opportunities available at Pacific as an undergraduate. I have attended conferences, presented poster presentations, and published papers; these opportunities would have not been possible without the support of the chemistry department. These experiences are all part of the bigger picture; I had the opportunity to contribute original knowledge to the scientific community and become well prepared for a post-graduate program.  As a graduate of University of the Pacific's Biochemistry program, I take my experiences with me to my current endeavors at UCLA School of Dentistry as a pre-doctoral student and as a dental materials researcher. From my personal experiences, University of the Pacific's Biochemistry program sets a very strong precedence in building a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Even today, I can see the definite impact of my experiences on how I perceive the physical world..."
    John Tan (graduated 2006, UCLA Dental School)
    John Tan
  • Chemistry Graduate Testimonial - Matthew Curtis 2009  "...I have spent my four years of undergraduate studies at Pacific and because of my experiences here I decided to stay for graduate school studies in Chemistry. With the connections I have made with my professors and the research opportunities I have been exposed to it was an easy decision to continue my education at Pacific, even though in high school I never thought I would attempt a Ph.D..."
    M. Curtis (Ph. D. candidate, 2009)
  • Chemistry Graduate Testimonial - Haiqiang Yu 2006 

    "...Studying chemistry at Pacific was a highly rewarding experience for me. I enjoyed the close interaction with faculty and fellow graduate students, the great location of the campus and the opportunities and resources available in Northern California. The sharing of resources, physical and philosophical, is a great strength of Chemistry Department of University of the Pacific. As an analytical chemistry student, I was provided with the opportunity of working on a wide range of MS instruments and other analytical instruments like HPLC, NMR and IR..."
    Dr. Haiqiang Yu at Rockefeller University, NY



    Dr. Haiqiang Yu (Research Support Specialist, Proteomic Resources Center, The Rockefeller University, NY; currently Waters Corporation) (graduated 2007)

  • Chemistry Graduate Testimonial - Crystal Anderson-Holt 2005 

    The University of the Pacific Chemistry graduate program allowed me to discover who I was and who I wanted to become in both my personal and professional life.  The faculty mentors at Pacific allowed me the freedom for self discovery while providing guidance, direction and friendship.  The small class sizes were an ideal environment for learning from my faculty and peers.  The state of the art laboratory equipment and top notch research provided me exciting options for research and experience in many fields. My experience in the chemistry graduate program at Pacific provided me with the experience, expertise and contacts to have an exciting and rewarding job in the field of mass spectrometry waiting for me upon graduation and has continued to open doors for me.  I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to gain a superb education while making lifelong friendships at Pacific..."
    Crystal Anderson Holt (M.S. 2005)



    Crystal Anderson Holt (Waters Corporation, California) (graduated 2005)

  • Chemistry Graduate Testimonial - Pasit Phiasivongsa 2002  "...My education and training in chemistry at the University of the Pacific Graduate School has made me very competitive in the pharmaceutical industry. The Chemistry Department has imbued in me fundamentally solid skill sets in the latest chemical technologies and methodologies. They have enabled me to successfully function as a medicinal, process and manufacturing chemist, from synthesis and discovery of novel chemical entities at the bench top to cGMP production of active pharmaceutical ingredients for use in clinical trials at manufacturing plants. Since my graduation in 2002 I have made significant and invaluable contributions in drug development to the various companies that have employed me. All of my successes (materially and professionally) have been made possible by my training at the University of the Pacific Chemistry Department and Graduate School..."
    Dr. P. Phiasivongsa (Senior Manager, Chemical Development Proteolix, Inc.) (graduated 2002)