Transcription of Meet Wes Collier Video.

Wes Collier:

Right after high school I worked a few years in the industry, paper conversion and glass fab and that was enough to convince me that I needed to go back to school. So, I have saved up a little bit of money and I went to the Fox Valley Tech and tried a semester of electronics there. That wasn’t quite enough for me. I was looking a little bit more rigorous course work, so I called up Dr. Rudd. He was in the chemistry listing on the Fox’s website and, great conversation, very inviting. He invited me to his foundations of chem. class over the summer and I just loved the atmosphere.

Doing research is great! It’s very exciting to be on the edge of what’s known. It’s very rewarding. It’s an affirmation of what I’m learning. It’s a great place to put the skills and theory I’m learning in class to work. It’s very exciting to be able to apply those theories in a really real way.

You always have the option to come up with your own research ideas, but that’s really difficult. We use Dr. Rudd’s expertise in the field to know which avenues haven’t been explored yet, and he had an idea. His background is in organometallic chemistry, so we’ve been exploring some new lines of reactivity there.

One possible application of our research in organometallic chemistry is sensors for satellites. We could actually potentially send a laser beam down to the surface from a satellite and detect its exact elemental composition. It’s very exciting to be working on research that could have potential applications in the space industry.

Ever since I was little I’ve been just fascinated with science in every way. I used to look at the way bugs worked. I always thought it was just fascinating the way everything was built and such, the natural order and balance of nature. It’s always fascinated me, and to be here living my dream is really one of the best things I could have ever asked for.