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Student Snapshot: Jordan Cox ’21

Jordan Cox

Planning for a career in nanoscience, Jordan Cox ’21 (chemistry) has presented original research at an international conference in Paris, participated in student-faculty research into fighting pollution through nanotechnology and earned a Goldwater Fellowship. 

Hometown:

Yonkers, New York.

Major:

Chemistry.

Clubs and organizations:

Delta Nu, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Dickinson’s Department of Music.

Honors/scholarships/awards:

Goldwater Scholarship, Wellington A. Parlin Science Award, Senior Sophister, ACS Undergraduate Award in Physical Chemistry, Royal Society of Chemistry Certificate of Excellence, Horace E. Rogers Scholarship, 2019 Outstanding Organic Chemistry Student Award, 2019 Joseph Middleton and Isabel Mullin Burns Memorial Prize, 2018 John Patton Memorial Prize, Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, National Merit Scholar, Tuition Exchange Merit Scholarship, Dean’s List and Marco Biagi Scholarship.

Best thing about my major:

Being a chemistry major allows me to explore the whys of the world and unlock a deeper understanding of how daily life works. At Dickinson, the chemistry department is a community, and that support is an invaluable part of my college experience. I can begin undergraduate research as a sophomore and get personalized advice and mentoring that could only come out of a small liberal-arts environment like Dickinson’s.

On choosing Dickinson:

I wanted a small liberal-arts college with a strong science program and the opportunity to study abroad, regardless of major.

Favorite places on campus:

Weiss practice rooms.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Paninis.

On studying abroad:

I studied abroad in Bologna, Italy, in fall 2020. The highlight of my experience was being fully immersed in the Italian language and taking a class taught in Italian at the University of Bologna with native-speaking college students. The second highlight, related to my chemistry major, was the opportunity to travel to Paris, France, and present my summer research on Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles at the 2019 Applied Nanotechnology and Nanoscience International Conference (ANNIC). Attending a conference with leading world experts on topics I plan to study in graduate school was an extraordinary experience.

About my research:

At Dickinson, I research photocatalysis for novel zinc oxide—silver nanoparticles and hybrid nanomaterials—in Associate Professor of Chemistry Sarah St. Angelo’s inorganic chemistry lab. In general terms, this means I’m making new materials—white or grey powders—that can break down pollution in water when exposed to sunlight. I find nanotechnology fascinating because we can discover new properties, like better catalytic ability or different colors, simply by tuning the structure of a well-known material on the nanoscale (the size of wavelengths of visible light).

About my internship:

I interned at Rutgers University’s Advanced Materials REU (research experience for undergraduates). I was exposed to nanomaterials for the first time. I participated in research with a graduate-student mentor and presented my findings at the end of the semester in a poster presentation. I believe this was a deciding factor in my path to graduate school and has helped me narrow down my field of study.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience:

Dickinson is a community, and I’ve found people who will be with me for the rest of my life.

Proudest accomplishment:

Receiving the 2020 Goldwater Fellowship. The Goldwater Fellowship is one of the most prestigious awards given to an undergraduate student in STEM recognizing high research potential. It’s given out to less than 400 students nationally each year, so it is a huge honor for me.

Post-Dickinson plans:

After Dickinson, I will attend graduate school and continue my research in the field of nanochemistry.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… a farmer. At that time, I didn’t realize the amount of hard work that went into it. I loved gardening and I liked the idea of organizing the fields from my farmer’s almanac based on which plants would give nutrients back to the soil for the next crop and the best times of year. I also wanted animals running around everywhere.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

The most important thing I’ve learned from Dickinson is how to learn. It’s one thing to memorize and regurgitate facts, but the ability to think critically and feel confident exploring new material is far more important. Dickinson’s liberal arts education prepared me in this way for graduate school and my future career in science.

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Published October 29, 2020