An aspiring chemistry professor and researcher, Aidan Lindsay is already honing his teaching skills as an undergraduate student.
Through REACT, an Illinois chemistry outreach program, Lindsay and other students go into Urbana-Champaign area schools to teach chemistry by conducting experiments with the kids.
“I enjoy working with kids and teaching chemistry, and this organization is a great way to do both,” said Lindsay, a specialized chemistry major and math minor in the Class of 2025. “UIUC has a lot of amazing opportunities for research and organizations to fuel your chemistry-related passions.”
As an undergraduate researcher, Lindsay works in chemistry professor Prashant Jain’s lab, where he works with a graduate student on the light-driven electrocatalytic reduction of nitrate to ammonia using molybdenum oxide nanosheets as the catalyst. He has used UV-Vis spectroscopy to determine concentrations and identify products, while also learning how to synthesize nanoparticles.
“The results are often interesting and sometimes very surprising. Chemistry research is an exciting venture into the unsolved mysteries of our world. The amazing professors in the chemistry department make this school a one-of-a-kind place to get your chemistry education,” said Lindsay, who is a 2023 Goldwater Scholar and hopes to teach and lead his own research lab as a professor at the university level in the future.
Outside the lab and the classroom, Lindsay is also involved with another organization on campus, the Illinois Biodiesel Initiative, which collects waste cooking oil from UIUC dining halls and uses it to make biodiesel.
“This is a great way to promote sustainability on campus and gain practical experience with chemical processing,” said Lindsay, who joined a lot of student organizations his freshman year to find where he fit in on campus. “The people that I have met through my involvement on campus have shaped who I am today and have made UIUC feel so much smaller than it actually is, in a good way.”
Chemistry at UIUC is a challenging yet highly rewarding experience, Lindsay said, and the professors, cutting-edge research, and opportunities for campus involvement make the UIUC chemistry program stand out from other schools.
“My extracurriculars have given me valuable leadership experience, communication skills, and greater self-confidence as a team member and collaborator,” he said.