Oscar Huang ‘19 has a thirst for science that can’t be quenched. Starting this fall, he’s headed to Northwestern University to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry, his major at Haverford, though he’s eager to both diversify and concentrate his knowledge in the field.
“I am most excited about the research environment at Northwestern,” he said. “The chemistry department at Northwestern is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments and provides plenty of opportunities to collaborate with other programs such as materials science and physics.”
Huang’s enthusiasm for interdisciplinary collaboration developed naturally from his academic pursuits at Haverford. Not content to simply remain within his major, he routinely explored other fields of study to contextualize his understanding of chemistry.
“I was encouraged to pursue studies outside my major at Haverford,” he said. “The extra physics courses I took in quantum mechanics provided great additional insights.”
Relying on this expanded curriculum to inform his chosen area of interest, Huang was able to greatly strengthen the academic backbone that he established in his core chemistry courses. He listed his time with departmental professors Alexander Norquist and Joshua Schrier as instrumental in founding his curiosity for research, which is exactly what guided him towards Northwestern.
“I expect to develop my skills as a researcher in the short run,” said Huang. “I am interested in working in the materials industry…For me, the classes I took at Haverford and the research experiences I had working in the Norquist lab and ‘Superlab’ set a great foundation for my future studies.”
Huang hopes to employ his undergraduate experience as a springboard to delve deeply into highly specialized areas of chemistry. Among the many options he sees going forward is an exploration of “exotic quantum mechanical effects in novel materials and their applications,” inspired by his physics coursework, and an application of “computational techniques to novel materials synthesis.”
“Overall my academic experiences at Haverford have played a very unique role in shaping my research interests as an individual,” he said.
In addition to his dedication to academics, Huang attributes his ability to maintain focus and organization to his time on the men’s track team, where ran sprint events, including the 400 and 200 meter races.
“This has been an important part of my Haverford experience that I will carry on to the next stage of my life, in personal aspects and in my future work,” he said.
Going forward, Huang can rest easy knowing that his undergraduate career has equipped him to take on the rigorous graduate research that’s ahead of him.
“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series chronicling the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.