William Hembree, a chemistry major, published a paper Three-Dimensional Mapping of Microenvironmental Control of Methyl Rotational Barriers last June in the Journal of Physical Chemistry as the first author.
Hembree started working on the project with his mentor Dr. Jerome Baudry, Assistant Professor of the Department of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology in the summer of 2008. Baudry was proud of what Hembree was able to achieve.
“…it is rare for an undergraduate to be the first author of a peer-reviewed publication, in particular on a paper of ACS caliber.” Baudry said. On top of that, being one of the two authors means Hembree “did the bulk of the work himself.”
Scientific research is not all about glamorous or exciting moments like some might think. Obtaining data can be a boring process. Baudry pointed out that persistence is what leads to success. “William’s project was challenging…he was willing and able to put a lot of work in sometimes tedious tasks and never get discouraged or frustrated.”
Hembree is grateful of what this research experience has given him. “I was fortunate enough to work at Oak Ridge National Labs and the University of Tennessee with many top-level scientists. The knowledge and instruction they gave me has been invaluable in my studies. Above all, I owe many thanks to Dr. Baudry for all his help.” Hembree said.
Undergraduate research is much encouraged in all science fields, especially in a Research I Institute like the University of Tennessee. The students who participate will not only gain research experience, but can also find out if doing scientific research is something they will enjoy for their future career.
“…doing good scientific research means that one must like the “journey” as much (if not more) as the ‘destination'” Baudry said, “…if you wake up every morning hoping to get something unexpected and exciting in the lab, then you are a researcher. If you do that in computational chemistry and computational biology, like William did, then you are a scientific researcher. ”
Hembree is graduating this May with a degree in Chemistry and a degree in German. He is excited to see what future will bring him. “My plans are uncertain after graduation; I am in the process of applying for a post at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria. I am considering graduate school as well.”
Note: Out of 127 journals in the Physical Chemistry category, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B ranks #1 in total citations with 113,180 total cites. The Journal received an Impact Factor of 3.603.*
*Based on the 2010 Journal Citation Reports® by Thomson Reuters