Undergraduate Research Program

Chloe Chiu

Major: Chemistry
Mentor: Anne McCoy, Chemistry; Mark Boyer, Chemistry

Contact: cchiu820@uw.edu

Current research project: Investigating the Effects on the Spectrum of Water Molecules


Chloe is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Washington and is expected to graduate in 2022. She is interested in eventually working in the biomedical field as an oncologist or a cancer researcher. She is currently working in the McCoy Group looking at the effects on the spectrum of water molecules. When she’s not studying for her classes, she enjoys trying new restaurants, baking, and traveling.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Water clusters have been proposed to play a significant role in atmospheric processes and suggested to help understand hydrogen bonding more thoroughly. In order to understand the physics of water clusters better, we have to first build a greater understanding of the energetics and trends that individual water molecules have. Then we can look at water clusters and observe how the energetics and patterns change due to the interactions with other water molecules. Thus, we are attempting to make observations about patterns in water molecules by generating spectra and making connections between the spectra and the chemical structure.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I started doing undergraduate research during the winter quarter of my freshman year. I was highly interested in getting involved in research because I wanted to explore different fields of research to help me gain insight in various career pathways. I also wanted to hone both my scientific thinking and communication abilities. With opportunity and timing, I was offered a spot in the McCoy Group, a team studying quantum mechanics in chemical systems with the goal of exploring novel investigative tools, and I have been learning so much and enjoying my experience with them since then.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Persistence is a key factor in being able to earn a spot in a research lab, so don’t give up! You should make a list of research labs you’re interested in, and then tailor your resume and cover letters to fit the position. You can attend workshops at the URP to help you with that.