Senior Michael Humphrey, of Strawberry, does not know exactly what he will do after graduation, and he is excited to explore the possibilities.
“Elementary and high school you had to do, and going to college was expected of me,” he said. “This is the first opportunity where I can do whatever I want to do.”
Humphrey continued, “It’s scary, but it’s also the first time I haven’t known and that’s cool.”
A chemistry and mathematics double major, he will start his postgraduate career with an internship at Future Fuel Chemical Company in Batesville from June to August.
“I got the call recently that I was accepted into the internship,” he said. “I’ll either be working in development or analytical.”
The development side of the company assists customers by figuring out ways to synthesize the products they need, Humphrey said, and the analytical side tests the products that development makes.
“After that internship, I will have done industrial chemistry at Future Fuel, the research side of things with Dr. Irosha and some carpentry,” he said.
Since Humphrey does not know what career path he wants to follow yet, he is trying to do a little bit of everything first.
“If the Future Fuel internship is a perfect fit, then I will apply for a job there. If it doesn’t work out, I might look into joining the Navy.”
His brother recently enlisted in the military, so Humphrey plans to ask him about his experiences before deciding.
“I’ve always wanted to fly planes,” Humphrey said, “so joining the Navy and becoming a pilot is one of my fall back plans.”
His time at Lyon has taught him that “anything is doable.” When he first started doing research with Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Irosha Nawarathne during the first week of his sophomore year, he did not know what any of the words meant or how to conduct the experiments.
“I basically did presentations where I said what she told me to say,” Humphrey said, laughing. “By the end of junior year when we had to revamp our project, I completely understood it all.”
One of the most helpful experiences he had was when his group designed an experimental synthesis that did not work.
“That was probably more helpful for me because then we had to go over it and figure out why it didn’t work,” Humphrey said.
The group determined that an amino acid had been in the wrong form because the solution’s pH balance was not basic enough.
“We revamped it with a new modified procedure we came up with, and then it did work,” he said. “So that was awesome.”
Humphrey said Nawarathne has been one of his biggest mentors at Lyon.
“Especially over the summer, I would come into the lab from 9 to 4 five days a week,” he said. “I’ve spent more time with her than any of my other professors and learned a lot.”
Humphrey will miss living on campus with other students the most after graduation.
“All my best friends are right down the hall,” he said. “When we move off campus and I can’t walk three steps and knock on my buddy’s door, that’s going to be pretty sad.”
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