#MyCarletonSummer: Will DeSnoo

2 August 2017

How are Carls spending their summer? We chat with Will DeSnoo ’19, a junior chemistry major from San Francisco, Calif.

What are you doing this summer?

I’m conducting computational chemistry research with (Carleton professors) Dani Kohen and Matt Whited over the summer. On the weekends, I also volunteer at the Northfield hospital’s long term care department.

I found out about the research opportunity when looking into summer working options. I went to Carleton’s chemistry department site and saw that there were summer research positions on campus for students. I decided to apply because I wanted to get a grasp for what aspect of chemistry I want to pursue in the future, and whether or not computational chemistry would be a good fit for me.

What are you doing in the lab? How do you spend time away from work?

I’m using computational modeling to simulate a Ruthenium metal complex and investigate the mechanism of how it converts environmentally harmful CO2 molecules into innocuous Formate ions. I could go into more detail, but I’ll leave it at that. 

At work I’m usually either making small edits to molecules, designing computational jobs to run, interpreting the output of the computational jobs I’ve finished running, or conducting data analysis. Once a week, the chemistry research students and faculty get together at 11:30 a.m. for a presentation on what each group is doing over the summer, which is always fun and intriguing.

But the best part is definitely the free food. For lunch, I usually go to whichever dining hall is open and eat with the PACA (Program and Community Assistant) members. I get off work around 5 p.m. and go to the gym to play basketball or workout—then I take a shower and head back to the dining hall for dinner. Sometimes I like to get a hoagie from Hogan Brothers (highly recommended) off campus. After dinner, I generally read and listen to music or hang out with friends in the floor lounge. And if the weather permits it, I go for a leisurely bike ride through the Arb.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

That it is highly independent and it’s real scientific work! Doing science in the classroom is great and enjoyable, but it’s a different kind of rewarding to apply what you’ve learned to the real world.

How did Carleton make your summer possible? 

Carleton helped make my summer possible by providing me with the opportunity to work here in the first place! Carleton also provided me and many other summer workers with a fun and welcoming community through the Student Activities office.