Chemistry

Opportunities to Experience Research

November 25, 2013

Daniel Jaremko made the choice to attend Alma College based on the chance to take a human dissection class — a rare feature at an undergraduate institution — along with the opportunities provided by the school and, most importantly, the faculty… 

Daniel Jaremko made the choice to attend Alma College based on the chance to take a human dissection class — a rare feature at an undergraduate institution — along with the opportunities provided by the school and, most importantly, the faculty.

“When I visited the campus in my senior year of high school, I felt as though the professors were all very willing to provide whatever help was needed and offer guidance on school work, applications, anything,” says Jaremko, a 2013 graduate. “This initial impression was very much confirmed during my four years at Alma College.”

Jaremko entered his freshman year interested in literature and creative writing. That changed with his enrollment in pre-medical science classes.

“I found my science classes and labs to be far more interesting than they had been in high school,” he says. “On top of that, I began doing research with Dr. Joel Dopke, which really helped bring me to the career path I’m currently pursuing.”

Jaremko became involved in research with Dopke during the beginning of his freshmen year and went on to spend the remaining four years doing research in his lab, participating in two separate research programs.

The first was focused on synthesizing, purifying and characterizing organic compounds that would be used to coordinate with certain metal ions. The ultimate goal of this research project was to focus on creating compounds that were structurally or functionally similar to certain metal-containing enzymes found within living organisms.

The second project worked on using microwave synthesis to add amines to boron clusters. Jaremko and Dopke focused on the derivatives of the dodecaborate [B12H12-2 ] cluster and used a new technique that used a Cu-1 catalyst. Much of the project focused on developing the parameters for the technique, attempting to use different amines and purifying and characterizing the resulting compounds.

The research experience that Jaremko gained in his time at Alma College helped him immensely, as research experience is often required for acceptance into master and doctorate programs. His experiences also helped him in numerous other ways.

“One of the main reasons I knew I wanted to pursue a career in research is because I had a chance to experience it,” he says. “Additionally, the research I performed gave me the opportunity to travel to three national conferences. This experience helped me both to develop my ability to present my research and also let me get an idea of how much research is going on and how many opportunities are out there.”

Jaremko is currently part of State University of New York at Buffalo’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and will complete the program in 2021 or 2022. After graduating from the program with both a doctorate degree and a medical degree, he plans to complete a residency program and possibly a post-doctoral research position. His ultimate career goal is to secure a position at a large research institute, splitting his time as a physician scientist between clinical work with patients and performing research in the lab.

“It was thanks to the time I spent at Alma College, the classes I took and the professors I met, that I was able to learn the skills and to have the experiences I needed to reach where I am now,” Jaremko says.