Case Study: Peter

My name is Peter, and I am currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida International University. I hail from Ileogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. The concept of matter ignited my interest in the physical sciences. Chemical properties of matter propelled my interest in studying chemistry. I was particularly thrilled with electrochemistry—the oxidation of metal atoms at the anode or the reduction of metal ion(s) at the cathode.

Earning a Ph.D. in environmental or analytical chemistry will go a long way toward research path solving or proffering solutions to many water and/or wastewater problems. Moreover, with in-depth research experience, I would like to teach and conduct research in a university as well as create a consultancy firm that will offer solutions to different environmental problems.

I presently work as a doctoral research student in the Professor Yong Cai research laboratory at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida International University. My research is centered on the environmental monitoring of mercury, a global water pollutant. My passion for environmental chemistry was born out of the quest to know how many pollutants are present in the environment (especially water) and their fate or transformation. I want to advance understanding of the means of remediating our immediate polluted environment. Hence, my research is into the biogeochemical cycling of mercury in aquatic environments via photo redox reactions.

So far, through my research experience, I have discovered that there is virtually nothing I cannot learn, know, or do with respect to research because I have garnered skills in writing scientific papers, operating sophisticated instruments like ICP-MS, and more. My candid advice for potential students who want to engage in science related research is that they should just come well prepared and believe in themselves that their research and/or degree is achievable with seriousness and readiness to learn.

For leaders who want to welcome individuals from underrepresented groups and ensure their full inclusion, I would strongly advise them to admit such students because they usually come with passion to make indelible marks and to do their parents and country proud. These students will make judicious use of the opportunity if given to them, like myself. Such leaders should not be partisan ethnicity-wise, but should rather display equality among all research students, i.e., no partisanship or lack of preference for the so-called underrepresented students because the feeling of inequality might result in poor performance and possible regret of enrolling in such a program.