Genevieve Verville and Kristen Malloy, Chemistry Student Ambassadors
A chemistry major, Genevieve has three minors: biology, mathematics, and psychology. She’s been an executive cabinet officer for the Associated Student Body, and an exective member of the editorial staff of the University of Mississippi Undergraduate Research Journal, where she served as the Natural Sciences section editor. She’s currently the recipient of three academic scholarships.
Did you know what your major would be when you came to UM?
I initially wanted to be a chemical engineering major, however, after a few weeks into an intro chemical engineering class, I realized it was not for me. I still loved chemistry, though, and I decided to pursue a chemistry major.
Have you done any memorable learning activities outside of the classroom?
I shadowed a doctor at a children’s hospital and I was exposed to the importance of mathematics in the medical field–something I had never realized before. The doctor used mathematical statistics to explain various choices a physician may need when deciding which tests to use. .
What’s an exchange you had with a professor (in or out of class) that changed your way of thinking about or understanding a concept or idea?
I had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Ryan Fortenberry last year. Although I was new to the department, he welcomed me and I appreciated his constant encouragement and support. The energy that he brought to the classroom really made class and learning the concepts fun, and I realized how fun chemistry can be–even in an introductory level class.
What are your plans after graduation?
I want to work as a post-baccalaureate researcher for the National Institutes of Health for two years before attending medical school.
Why would you recommend studying chemistry at UM?
I’ve had amazing opportunities to do research here. When I began working in labs, I had no prior research experience, but the wonderful professors in the chemistry department have been willing to mentor me and provide me with opportunities. The professors are incredibly patient and understanding—and they’re willing to work with undergraduate students. Very few of my friends at other universities have been afforded the research opportunities I’ve had at the University of Mississippi.
What’s your go-to meal in Oxford?
I like Pick Thai, and Rice and Spice.
What are you binge watching?
Shows on the Food Network, especially Beat Bobby Flay, Chopped, and Guy’s Grocery Games.
Busy writing her honors thesis, Kristen is learning about trace evidence, analyzing DNA evidence, and studying toxicology and firearms—all in preparation for a career in forensic science.
What is a “light bulb” moment you had in a class or a talk with a professor—when something from a project or class became clear.
I took Instrumental Analysis with Dr. Cizdziel during the second semester of my Junior year that I realized my passion for scientific instruments. I was truly fascinated each day in class as I learned about all the powerful tasks these machines can perform and how crucial they are to forensic analysis. Thanks to the knowledge Dr. Cizdziel has given me, I have decided I want to pursue a career as a forensic drug analyst.
Why did you decide to study forensic chemistry?
Growing up with a Police Officer for a father, I have always admired the work that law enforcement does for their local community. My passion for chemistry and science eventually led me to take a forensics course in high school, and everything clicked. This was the moment I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in forensic science, knowing that it would eventually lead me to a career where I get to use my technical skills and knowledge of science to help law enforcement solve crimes.
Have you had any mentors or support from particular professors at UM?
The Forensic Chemistry advisor – Dr. Kerri Scott – has won the National Academic Advising Association Outstanding Faculty Advisor award! Dr. Scott will do everything in her power to make sure you are on the right track during your four years of undergraduate education, and also help guide you while making decisions about your life after graduation.
What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
My go to meal in Oxford is Rice and Spice (Thai fried rice with chicken level 5).
What is an especially memorable trip, research, internship, or other school-related but outside the classroom thing you have done?
In summer 2019, I completed an internship with the Illinois State Police in the drug chemistry unit of the Chicago forensic laboratory. I really valued my experience here since I was able to work with the actual scientific instruments I learned about in class the semester prior.
What are you binge watching?
How I Met Your Mother and Grease.
Why study forensic chemistry at the University of Mississippi?
The forensic chemistry degree here at Ole Miss is accredited by the Forensic Science Programs Accreditations Committee. Also, with the addition of only 7 credit hours, you have the opportunity to have your degree certified by the American Chemical Society. These two facts prove that the education you will receive at Ole Miss while studying Forensic Chemistry will fully prepare you for any career in forensic science.
Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered to take a new step or do coursework at the next level or assume a leadership role?
During the second semester of my sophomore year, I decided that I wanted to do research under a chemistry professor. Dr. Godfrey was gracious enough to take me under his wing and lead me in my research endeavors. For the entirety of that semester, Dr. Godfrey supported all of my efforts, praised me for all of my hard work, and helped me dive deeper with my research in order to gain more knowledge about forensic science that I would not have received from class. My research experience with Dr. Godfrey inspired me to want to write a thesis about my work, so I applied for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Junior Entry Program. I am now starting my fourth semester of research and getting ready to prepare the first draft of my thesis that I will be defending this spring!
Chinwe Udemgba is a chemistry major with an emphasis on biochemistry. She spent last summer as an undergraduate researcher at the University of Chicago’d Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. She is a premedical student and a campus leader.
What are the leadership positions?
Ole Miss has given me a TON of opportunities to be a student leader so here are a few positions that I have held during my time here:
- Secretary, Vice President, then President of the Increasing Minority Access to a Graduate Education Program
- Vice President of the National Organization for the Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
- Protocol Chairman for the Theta Psi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
- Team Leader for RebelThon
- Global Ambassador
What are your career aspirations?
I would love to help people and be a vital part of a small community as a family doctor. While serving as a physician, I want to start a mentoring program for young minority girls interested in STEM to increase their interest and show that there are people who look like them in their desired field.
What is your go to meal in Oxford?
My go to meal is chicken Thai fried rice from Rice and Spice.
What are you binge watching?
I’m currently rewatching Psych for the millionth time. It’s hilarious and addictive like a lot of crime shows.