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From the Chemistry Department

Stellar Student Spotlight: Amanda Oakley

Amanda Oakley is a sophomore in the Department of Chemistry and a member of the Peer Learning Assistant program.


I fell in love with chemistry in seventh grade when my science teacher lit metal salts on fire to show us the different colors. From there my interest grew in high school, especially after I finished AP chemistry and I realized how many different areas there are in chemistry and I wanted to learn more. I decided to become a chemistry major so I could immerse myself chemistry. I have a gift for learning chemistry; it simply makes sense to me. I chose to attend UT to study chemistry because UT offers a variety of opportunities for its students; from opportunities to participate in research my freshman year to challenging courses to amazing and supportive professors. I knew UT would be the best place to begin my journey of exploring chemistry.   

The peer learning assistant program has been an enriching part of my experience here at UT. Not only is it great to give back and help other students learn to love chemistry as I do, it has helped me be a better chemist as well. I haven’t had the “normal” experience as a peer learning assistant. For my first semester, instead of being a part of the first semester of general chemistry for science majors, I was an assistant for Dr. Kate Biberdorf’s general chemistry for nonscience majors course. It was a challenging and yet fun experience to assist students who hated chemistry engage with the topic. It was difficult to make real world connections that the students would understand in order to make the information they were learning relevant. I am now a better chemist because I had to look and think of problems in a different way then I was used to thinking in my own classes.

Right now I am not ready to commit to one area of chemistry. I am open to the idea of continuing my education and going to graduate school or maybe pharmacy school.  I am leaving my options open as I continue to enjoy my experience at UT.


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