In celebration of the 20th annual Student Research Week (March 27-31) at Texas A&M University, the College of Science will be taking five with five different people involved in various aspects and stages of innovative research at Texas A&M and beyond. Today's kickoff segment features Brooke Versaw '18, a senior chemistry major from College Station.

Versaw, who is the daughter of Texas A&M biologist Dr. Wayne Versaw, discovered her interest in chemistry and chemical research during high school, where she volunteered as a chemistry and physics tutor. Prior to ever setting foot on the Texas A&M campus as an official student and National Merit Scholar in fall 2014, she had already spent two summers conducting university-level research. In summer 2013, Versaw worked with Dr. Junha Jeon at the University of Texas at Arlington, investigating the mechanism of alkenyl silyl ether hydrolyzation as a Robert A. Welch Foundation Chemistry Scholar. In summer 2014, Versaw moved to Dr. Steve Lockless' group in the Texas A&M Department of Biology, where she studied intracellular signaling using synthetic models of cellular membranes.

Versaw currently is an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Dr. Karen L. Wooley, a group she first joined in June 2015 as a 2015-16 Beckman Scholar. Her initial project involved using organic synthesis and polymerization strategies to build macromolecular structures useful in developing a host of new materials for various applications and industries.

In addition to the University Honors Program, Versaw is a member of the American Chemical Society Student Affiliate Chapter and a National Aggie Scholar Ambassador. She also spent part of her freshman year serving on the Texas A&M Honor Council, which hears and addresses issues related to the Aggie Honor Code.

We recently caught up with Versaw, who discussed her love of chemistry and why she chose the major, college and university that she did while filming for our 2016 "Learn From The Best" and "I Chose Texas A&M Science" video campaigns.

Why is Texas A&M your ideal place to get a chemistry degree?
"Your education doesn't stop in one class. Your professors do a really great job of connecting to another class, to the research interests, to the problems facing industry or academia. I chose Texas A&M Science because it drives me to discover more."

What has doing research taught you about your field?
"Chemistry is far more than a classroom subject; it's got an amazing vitality in the laboratory. There's little greater than holding something in your hands that you've made."

Why should undergraduates get involved in research?
"Science is so much more than a textbook or a drawing on paper or writing on a chalkboard. I would love for everyone to be able to experience research."

What does it take to be a successful scientist?
"It takes curiosity -- just an innate and indefatigable curiosity about the world."

What should prospective students know about the College of Science?
"Texas A&M's College of Science does more and it goes further. I haven't found any other place, in the state of Texas or otherwise, that goes farther to connect your education -- between classes, between disciplines, between your degrees -- and the academic and professional world."

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Now in its 20th year, Student Research Week is a friendly competition that highlights both undergraduate and graduate research at Texas A&M, one of the country's top research universities. The weeklong celebration fosters an environment for students, faculty and administrators to learn about student research at Texas A&M and also gives students an opportunity to win numerous awards and cash prizes. To learn more about the week's schedule and specific events, see this recent feature article or go to http://srw.tamu.edu/.

For more information about undergraduate research opportunities within the College of Science, go to http://www.science.tamu.edu/research/undergraduate/index.php.


Contact: Chris Jarvis, (979) 845-7246 or cjarvis@science.tamu.edu

Jarvis Chris

  • Brooke Versaw '18

  • Chemistry majors Brooke Versaw (right) and Tucker Folsom, pictured with their 2016 Outstanding Presentation Awards in the chemistry/materials section of the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research (GCUR) Symposium, hosted each November by Rice University.

  • Versaw, presenting her research to Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies and LAUNCH Executive Director Dr. Suma Datta during the 2016 Undergraduate Research Summer Poster Session in Texas A&M's Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building.

© Texas A&M University. To request use of any of our photographs for educational use or to view additional options from our archive, please contact the College of Science Communications Office.

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