Undergraduate Research with Dr. V by Greg Arnold '98
The relationship I had with Dr. Van Arman illustrates why Franklin and Marshall offers a unique educational experience. I first met Dr. V during organic chemistry which was a very challenging class. I remember really enjoying Dr. V’s teaching style which helped relate abstract mechanisms to concepts in the real world, making them tangible and easier to learn. After my first semester of organic chemistry I was asked to join the Hackman Summer Research Program. It was during this summer and each subsequent summer that a special mentorship developed between Dr. V and me.
This educational experience was unparalled as I was expected to function at a graduate student level. It was during these summers that my critical thinking was really shaped. Dr. V always challenged me to try to figure out the problem and arrive at the answer on my own.
But some of the most special memories of those summers that I will always cherish occurred outside of the lab. There were the afternoon softball games with the faculty members and a research group camping trip (Dr. V’s research group) where we really found out a lot about each other. One summer camping trip, one of my classmates and I built a working dam together . During my time at F and M I was also invited over to Dr. V’s house to have dinner along with the chemistry group.
Along with having a paper published in a chemistry journal, I also had the opportunity to present my research with Dr. V at different chemistry conventions across the U.S. These presentations really helped me learn how to constructing Powerpoint presentations and helped to develop my oral speaking skills.
This level of mentorship with a faculty member I have not had since I left F&M. The mentorship and friendship that I had with Dr. V was an extremely important part of my overall experience at F&M. This experience exemplifies why F&M was a perfect fit for me.