The Great Eight
Karly Kolaja ’11
Most college seniors are pretty elated if they’ve been accepted into an advanced degree program. It’s even more exciting when they have more than one school from which to choose. But eight? That’s almost unheard of.
A double major in chemistry and psychology, Matt Streeter ’13 has been accepted into Ph.D. degree programs at the Universities of Michigan, Maryland, Washington, California-San Diego, California-Irvine, Delaware, North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Yale University.
“I’m trying not to lean too much towards a certain school until I’ve visited them all,” says Streeter. “I’ll save the stress of a decision until I know what each school has to offer.”
A double major in chemistry and psychology with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience, Streeter came to Washington College dead-set on becoming a chemical engineer. But his resolve started to waver when he took Organic Chemistry with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Aaron Amick.
“He brings an energy to the classroom, and somehow was able to transform the most despised class in college into the one that was most appealing to me,” says Streeter. “After I started doing research in his lab over the summer, my fate was sealed: I was no longer going to be a chemical engineer. I was destined to be involved in research.”
The admiration Streeter has for Amick is mutual.
“Matt is a great student,” says Amick. “He is such a hard worker and is always dedicated to his studies and research. In my laboratory, he’s done some amazing work.”
Streeter is planning to get his degree at the interface of chemistry and biology. The grouping could change depending on the program, but his basic goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry, while spending lots of time doing chemical biology research. By describing systems based on chemical interactions, Streeter hopes to gain a better understanding of biological systems. This, he thinks, will lead to the development of new treatments for a wide variety of diseases and disorders.
“Whether in industry or academia, research is challenging, rewarding work. It’s a career where I can constantly push my boundaries and benefit people’s health on a broad scale,” says Streeter. “I’d like to continue conducting research directly, but as I gain expertise, I hope to take on more of a leadership role, overseeing a lab or small company.”
So, what advice does Streeter have for new undergrads hoping to follow in his accepted footsteps? Jump right into your studies, and make them your passion.
“Whether it’s science or not, don’t concentrate on grades. Concentrate on learning, and the grades will come,” he says. “The more confidence you have in your abilities and knowledge, the more fulfilling your career as an undergraduate will be. It might take more work, but it will pay off.”