“To have an actual scientific application for something I like to do makes me feel confident that my skill set is valuable.”
— Karl Smith
With graduate school on the horizon, Mallory Scott, a physics major and religious studies minor, and Karl Smith, an English and physics double major, spent a summer researching with Allegheny physics professor Doros Petasis. The students coordinated two independent yet related projects—Mallory studied various metalloproteins and Karl designed and built modulation coils for the spectrometer that makes Mallory’s research possible.
“My goal is to expand a library of different metalloproteins by looking at the shapes of individual molecules and determining their functions and structures,” says Mallory. “I’m increasing the knowledge available about the molecules I’m working on so that others can incorporate that information into their studies.”
While Professor Petasis spent a few weeks at conferences in Europe, Karl and Mallory experienced what it was like to fly solo with their project, a challenging and valuable opportunity for both students.
“I read a lot of research papers and expanded my knowledge of the metalloproteins I would be working with as much as I could,” recalls Mallory. “I also had to adjust to applying all of the different sciences I’ve learned over the years to one project. Chemistry was never my strong suit, so getting to prove that I can do something like this and do it well has been really rewarding for me.”
Adds Karl: “To be able to do the research on our own time helped us to understand that even if it was more difficult, it made us better able to comprehend what we were studying. To have an actual scientific application for something I like to do makes me feel confident that my skill set is valuable.”
— By Hillary Wilson ’12