Love for Science Leads to Passion for TeachingMay 26, 2020
“I enjoy teaching undergraduates in the lab, and it has helped strengthen my ability to explain things to others. Watching a student's confidence grow is one of my favorite experiences.”
— Alex Ku, is a graduate student studying organic chemistry
Growing up in Mission Viejo, I loved watching educational channels like Animal Planet or Discovery and I was inspired by my elementary science classes. I chose Cal State Fullerton for my undergraduate work because it was nearby and affordable.
It’s also where I discovered my true passion for science.
As I took more science classes, I realized that I looked forward to attending my chemistry classes and I found that taking exams gave me the opportunity to test my knowledge.
When it came time to graduate with my bachelors in biochemistry, I knew there was still a lot for me to learn. That’s when I decided to apply for the master's program focusing on organic chemistry.
I enjoy teaching undergraduates in the lab, and it has helped strengthen my ability to explain things to others. Watching a student's confidence grow is one of my favorite experiences.
A challenge I faced during my graduate studies was finding a research adviser and lab to do my work. Nicholas Salzameda, associate professor of organic and bioorganic chemistry, took me into his lab and played a supportive role that I hadn’t had before then. Through his leadership, I have grown as a synthetic chemist and as a person.
I still have a lot of work to do, and there will always be room for improvement; but, I've come to realize the importance of having supportive mentors. I learned that challenging yourself might be uncomfortable, but it really is a catalyst for growth.
Alex Ku is continuing his research in botulism, an extremely rare but potentially fatal illness caused by a toxin. He hopes to find a career in pharmaceuticals after he finishes his Master's program at Cal State Fullerton.