Amy Glanzer ’21 and Holly Hutchinson ’21 both find chemistry challenging, but the duo also finds it incredibly rewarding. As summer research assistants for Associate Professor of Chemistry Max Majireck, Glanzer and Hutchinson work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the laboratory, helping create the foundation for a project Majireck started several years ago. During work, they get to apply the skills they learned in courses like organic chemistry and biochemistry to professional research.
Glanzer and Hutchinson are ultimately trying to synthesize, or man-make, a natural product called melokhanine A. There is a plant that naturally creates the product, but synthesizing the product would mean that scientists do not have to rely on plants to collect the melokhanine A. Moreover, melokhanine A has antimicrobial properties, which means it could later be used to make a new antibiotic drug. Synthesizing it would then make it easier to regularly produce the drug.
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
High School: Bard High School
Having started working on the research this past academic year, Glanzer and Hutchinson are familiar with the daily tasks that come with chemistry. They said that they’re typically given a reaction experiment to run, wherein they change a factor such as the temperature; at the end of their experiment, they test to see whether they have created the desired product. If so, they then check to see how much of the product they made and to what extent it is pure rather than mixed with other chemical materials.
“They’re both extremely reliable and hard-working students, and they have a knack for research. That’s not something everybody has, and it makes my job very easy,” Majireck said, explaining how Glanzer and Hutchinson have helped him.
Both Glanzer and Hutchinson said that doing chemistry research has been an informative, educational experience. “I definitely am learning a lot and I feel a lot more comfortable in the lab now than I ever had,” Hutchinson said. The pair agreed that working in a lab setting has
Majors: Chemistry and Hispanic Studies
Hometown: Lynbrook, NY
High School: Lynbrook Senior High School
helped them develop professional research techniques that they would have difficulty getting without their research positions. Hutchinson even said that part of the reason she came to Hamilton was the science research opportunities a small liberal arts college could afford, which would aid her in determining whether she wants to become a lab scientist.
Doing research for Majireck has assisted Glanzer and Hutchinson in determining what they want to do after college. Glanzer said that she is interested in going into high school education or pursuing a doctorate in chemistry and doing further research. Hutchinson, who has been dedicated to chemistry research for most of her time at Hamilton, also wants to obtain a doctoral degree and eventually work in a lab setting. For her, working in the lab has been an enlightening experience. She said, “I wanted to see what it’s like, and I actually just really enjoy it so far.”
Altogether, Glanzer and Hutchinson enjoy their work and appreciate the research skills and background that they hope to use in the future.