Chemistry student praises value of research

Senior Collin Nicholas Muniz from Portland, Oregon, has a voracious appetite for science. A double major in chemistry and physics with a minor in mathematics, Muniz’s conversation is a polyvalent encyclopedia of references to earth metals, isostructures, the De Broglie wavelength and multivariate equations.

Incidentally, Muniz began his college career as a chemical engineering major. He works in Professor of Chemistry May Nyman’s Lab and has acquired a strong reputation for his outstanding work in the Departments of Chemistry and Physics.

Soon after arriving on campus, Collin met Dr. May Nyman, now his research advisor, in general chemistry. He met with Nyman to talk about science careers and her research at Sandia National Laboratories. He remembers being engaged and excited talking with her about chemistry research. Weeks later, Nyman offered him a position in her lab. Collin said he “must have thanked her about 50 times.”

“My research experience with Dr. Nyman has been invaluable,” said Collin. “She has trusted me with so much freedom in my position. Her trust in me has led me to synthesize a new structure.”

When he started research in inorganic chemistry, he focused on aqueous synthesis of rare earth clusters. Muniz also with the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC) in the ionics group to fabricate thin films of garnet electrolyte materials by methods of spin coat deposition. He has researched luminescent materials for energy efficient lightbulbs and designed water desalination technology in Nyman’s lab. Collin has also started a student invention lab.

Collin says he is ecstatic to be doing research and learning a lot about the world of professional science.

“The opportunities I have been offered here are truly phenomenal,” said Collin. “I am essentially getting experience that a grad student would be getting and it makes me extremely appreciative of Dr. Nyman and the awesome experience I’m getting at OSU.”

Collin has won a NASA Space Grant and several Oregon State College of Science scholarships, including a Merrill Family Foundation Scholarship.

Collin plans on attending graduate school in chemistry, whichever graduate school, he says, will help him pursue his dreams to the best of his ability. After that, he wants to find work in a National Lab. “I want to work in the sort of environment where there’s a lot of pressure to get your final product and where you need to be very innovative to accomplish that,” Collin stated.

In May this year, Muniz will head to Washington, D.C. to present his research on desalinating ocean water with recyclable inorganic materials at the 2017 TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo.

 

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