The future is looking bright for Chapman alum Daniel Chang, who has recently been accepted to several PhD programs in organic chemistry including at U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Irvine, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). He has just recently confirmed his decision to attend CalTech.
“I was not really expecting such positive results,” Chang admitted. “But going to Chapman really helped with the application process, especially since I could go in and talk to Dr. Bidmead (Director of Center for Undergraduate Excellence) about my personal statements and research statements.”
For Chang, research was definitely a hallmark of his undergraduate experience. He conducted several research projects, and presented at conferences including the Student Scholar Symposium. Chang said that he found support at the Center for Undergraduate Excellence, which helped him receive funding for research and connected him with additional resources on campus.
“It’s important to start research early,” Chang said. “A lot of incoming freshman don’t realize how many opportunities are out there for them, but there are so many professors that are easy to reach and happy to help.”
According to Chang, doing research and applying for scholarships has also helped him develop his skills in grant-writing.
“This was extremely helpful when it came down to applying to PhD programs since they both ask a lot about your research,” Chang said.
In addition to doing his own research, Chang was active in connecting other students to research opportunities in his role as a Student Scholar Ambassador (SSA).
“The SSA program is really about making research opportunities visible to students,” Chang said.
Chang advises Chapman students to make the best of their undergraduate experience by developing an early habit of going to professors’ office hours.
“This is not only good because you can get letters of recommendation later on, but also because professors here genuinely care about students. They can become your life-long mentors and friends.”
Chang, who has already taught classes at Chapman last semester, hopes to continue pursuing research and teaching for his career, and hopefully at a small school like Chapman.
“I really would like to be at a small school so I can have lots of interaction with students,” he said.
When asked if he would consider coming back to Chapman to teach sometime after studying at CalTech, Chang responded: “of course!”
Are you interested in getting more involved with undergraduate research, or applying for scholarship and grant opportunities? Stop by the Center for Undergraduate Excellence and talk to one of our staff members for more information, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.