After completing independent studies and an undergraduate thesis during her BSc in chemistry at the University of Lethbridge, Rebecca Jeong (BSc '20) became passionate about computational chemistry. As the University has great faculty members and facilities, she was excited to continue her graduate studies here and is currently completing a Doctor of Philosophy in theoretical and computational science.
My research uses computational chemistry to study the impacts of toxic chemicals found in electronic cigarettes on DNA. I explore the effects of electronic cigarette ingredients, including nicotine and flavourings, on DNA at different model sizes.
Meet Rebecca | Motivated. Curious. Fun-loving.
Program: Doctor of Philosophy | Major: Theoretical and Computational Science
Did you know what you wanted to study before you came to ULethbridge? Has your academic plan changed since you began your studies?
So far, graduate studies have not changed my career trajectory. Instead, they have expanded my options and allowed me to experience different sides of potential careers, including industry and academia. As part of the NSERC CREATE RNA Innovation program, I had a chance to explore the industry through internships. By participating in graduate assistantships, I got a feel for how it is as an educator by preparing teaching materials.
What is your research based on? What unique opportunities do you get by taking part in this research?
My research uses computational chemistry to study the impacts of toxic chemicals found in electronic cigarettes on DNA. I explore the effects of electronic cigarette ingredients, including nicotine and flavourings, on DNA at different model sizes. By participating in this research, I explore different computational techniques with applications to provide explanations and insights necessary to understand experimental data.
What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?
My most memorable ULethbridge experience was attending the annual Chinook Symposium hosted by the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.
How have your professors impacted your education?
In the beginning, due to my limited knowledge, I felt lost with the research topic I wanted to explore during my graduate studies. However, my supervisor, Dr. Stacey Wetmore, helped broaden my knowledge as she could relate different research topics incredibly practically. In addition, she was very accommodating with the research topic I was interested in. Thus, I integrated it as a part of my research topic. I sincerely thank Dr. Wetmore for her mentorship throughout my graduate studies.
Rebecca works with undergraduates in my lab and has been heavily involved in new clubs being established in our department to support minorities in chemistry and our graduate students more broadly. – Dr. Stacey Wetmore, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, nominated Rebecca as a Shining Student.
Is there someone else who had an important influence on your ULethbridge experience?
My lab mates helped me improve my scientific communication and presentation skills by providing valuable feedback and encouraging me to stay motivated.
Have you received any scholarships and awards?
Yes, I have received a Tuition Scholarship from SGS, NSERC CREATE RNA Innovation Award and the University of Lethbridge Graduate Research Award (ULGRA). I am honoured to be selected as the recipient of multiple scholarships.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
I plan to pursue my career in an industry involving cosmetics or pharmaceuticals.
What advice would you like to give those who are about to begin their journey at ULethbridge?
A piece of advice I would like to give to future students is that time management skill is critical in graduate studies. At first, it may be overwhelming since you are in charge of your academic timeline while there are multiple priorities. Therefore, keeping track of your schedule and staying organized is important.
Top things to do in or around Lethbridge:
- Visiting the CASA art gallery
- Going for a walk in Nicholas Sheran Park
- Attending Centric MusicFest.
Favourite class: Molecular Modelling
Favourite social activity at ULethbridge: Grabbing coffee from Coffee Co. with friends
Favourite place to study: Pool viewing area
About Shining Students
Shining Students engage inside and outside of the classroom. What makes a student shine may differ from person to person, but they all share a passion for learning. They may be top students, involved in an innovative project, participating in ground-breaking research, playing Pronghorn athletics, fighting for social issues or all of the above! When students find something they enjoy and combine it with what they are good at, they shine.
Each year, the Faculty of Arts & Science's faculty and staff nominate students who exemplify the ULethbridge student spirit. Congratulations Rebecca!