Skip to main content
psu nittany lion shrine

Graduate Student Highlight: Kelsey Watson

3 May 2021
Kelsey Schlegel

Each week, the Department of Chemistry highlights a group of graduate students who are doing interesting and exciting work within the department. In this installment of our highlight series, we are featuring Kelsey Watson, who is a fifth-year NSF fellow in the Asbury lab. 

Kelsey’s work focuses on synthesizing ZnSe Mn2+ doped nanoparticles and studying their photophysical properties for use in photocatalysis.

Outside of the lab, she is an active member of Penn State Christian Grads and the Penn State chapter of Graduate Women in Science.
This week, we met virtually with Kelsey to discuss her life in and outside of the lab! Please enjoy our interview with Kelsey Watson.

Q: How did you get interested in chemistry?

A: As a freshmen nutrition and dietetics major, I had to take general chemistry. I was very afraid of taking chemistry in college because I had a bad high school experience. Fortunately, I had a very good professor who made me love chemistry and inspired me to change my major to biochemistry.

Q: What inspires you as a scientist?

A: I enjoy investigating the world that God created; this inspires me to want to learn more.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of? 

A: My husband and I got married and bought and flipped a house during the 2020 pandemic.

Q: Where did you grow up? 

A: I grew up on a farm one and a half hours east of State College. My parents own an orchard, so I grew up selling fruit at farmer’s markets during the summer.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

A: I enjoy mushrooming, rock climbing, hiking, and growing flowers in my spare time.

Q: Do you have any pets?

A: I have one dog, two cats, seven chickens, and one horse. Unfortunately, my dog and horse both still live at my parents' house.

Q: What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

A: Gardening and hiking with my husband.

Thanks to Kelsey for these interesting and thoughtful answers! We hope you enjoyed this interview. Stay tuned for more graduate student highlights in the weeks to come!