Each week, the Department of Chemistry highlights a graduate student who is doing interesting and exciting work within the department. In this installment of our highlight series, we are featuring Ryan Myers, who is a fourth-year student in the Cremer group.
Ryan’s research focuses on understanding the interactions between metal cations and biologically relevant functional groups, such as phosphates.
Outside of the lab, Ryan is involved in Graduate Women in Science as the co-chair for the Young Women in STEM workshop, which Ryan is helping to organize this fall and next spring. The workshop helps get girls interested in science with cool demonstrations completed by graduate students at Penn State. Ryan is also involved in the Outdoor Volleyball Club, which plays in pick-up games as well as tournaments throughout the year.
This week, we met virtually with Ryan to discuss his life in and outside of the lab! Please enjoy our interview with Ryan Myers.
Question: How did you get interested in chemistry?
Answer: In high school, I took a chemistry course and the subject matter just came easily to me. I understood chemistry better than most other subjects that I took. When I decided to go to Seton Hill, I wanted to major in forensic science to become a toxicologist and there were only a couple of additional courses to take, so I decided to major in chemistry as well. As I got older, my interests leaned more towards chemistry than they did toward forensic science.
Q: What inspires you as a scientist?
A: Learning the unknown. It is super cool to think that I may discover something that no one has known before and that maybe someday it will have some application to help people.
Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: My greatest accomplishment scientifically would have to be either of the papers that I have published or am currently working on. I also received the Graduate Student Teaching Award last year.
Q: Why did you decide to come to Penn State?
A: There are several reasons I chose Penn State; the first was the diversity of research because, as an incoming graduate student, I did not really know what kind of research I wanted to do. At Penn State, there were five or six faculty I envisioned myself working for, whereas other schools only had one or two at most. Other reasons are its location close to my family and fiancee at the time (now wife) as well as the proximity to many outdoor activities.
Q: Where did you grow up? (Tell us a fun fact about your hometown if you want)?
A: I grew up near the small town of Rural Valley, PA on a small, eleven acre property, which is about an hour northeast of Pittsburgh. I graduated from high school with sixty-two kids and the area of my school district takes about an hour to drive from one side to the other (thankfully, I was only fifteen minutes from the high school).
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: My hobbies include volleyball, hunting, fishing, trapping, and weightlifting.
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: I have an orange kitty named Atticus, and she is about two years old. More recently, my wife and I just got a puppy named Saige; she is a thirteen week old yellow labrador retriever.
Q: What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
A: A perfect day off is helping my dad on the property I grew up on. We have been working hard the past several years to improve the habitat where we live. We have planted chestnuts, apples, pears, and persimmon trees, as well as cleared out a quarter acre of woods and placed a food plot for the animals to eat out of, which has greatly increased the amount and diversity of wildlife that we have seen.
Q: What’s your dream vacation?
A: My dream vacation is to hunt elk somewhere in the rocky mountains.
Q: If you could have dinner with anybody (living or dead), who would it be and why? (And what would you eat?)
A: Honestly most people will say someone famous or historical, but I usually do not care much about that type of thing. I would just say my friends and family would be good enough for me, and I would have a T-bone steak.
Thanks to Ryan for these interesting and thoughtful answers! We hope you enjoyed this interview. Stay tuned for more graduate student highlights in the weeks to come!