Wade Perkins ’12 has been awarded an Honorable Mention in the Barry M. Goldwater and Excellence in Education Program, which honors students who show exemplary work in the field of science, math and engineering and plan to pursue a career in their chosen field.
Perkins, a chemistry major who serves as a tutor and lab teaching assistant, would like to pursue his Ph.D. in organic chemistry, and eventually teach at the university level. “I have realized that I like trying to help students understand concepts one on one when they may not initially grasp them,” explains Perkins.
It was his positive experience in organic chemistry classes that led him to his chosen career path. “Working out the mechanism and synthesis questions made me think in a new way,” says Perkins. “I liked how they involved intricate problem solving and how the synthesis doesn’t have one right answer.”
Perkins has also felt a deeper connection to his work, and sees it as an opportunity to help society. Aiding in his adviser Associate Professor of Chemistry Justin Miller’s work in the development of potential anticancer chemotherapeutics has helped him to realize this goal. “Several members of my family have been subject to the horrors of cancer,” says Perkins. “I saw this as my opportunity to do my part in the fight. I knew that if I could combine the subject I enjoyed so much with a cause close to my heart, maybe I could do some good in the world.”
The dedication that Perkins has put into his work on campus – as well as his research with Miller – has not gone unnoticed. “I’m thrilled that Wade was honored by the Goldwater Foundation,” says Miller. “He brings exceptional knowledge and technical skill, but also a respectful patience to all of his work. After less than a year in my research group, Wade is already an accomplished researcher and communicator, as he demonstrated at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston last August and again last week, in Anaheim, Calf. He’s an asset to my group and to the Colleges.”
On campus, Perkins is the Lieutenant of Safety and Training for HWS EMS, a teaching assistant and tutor in organic chemistry, as well as a German tutor. He also serves as the vice captain of the fencing club.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.
In the photo above, Perkins is pictured with Professor Miller.