Jungmi Park

Materials-Organic Chemistry
PhD candidate, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Master of Chemical Sciences, University of Pennsylvania ’19
Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign ‘16

When Jungmi Park graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, she began working in an engineering company as a step toward a career in research. “Working there, having more experience, I learned that I actually wanted to study more about how products are researched and developed,” she recalls. In order to explore whether to shift into an academic career—and to bolster her research experience in case she decided to pursue a PhD—Jungmi decided to pursue a Master of Chemical Sciences degree at Penn. “I was attracted to the program because I wanted to do research on my own and write my own thesis,” she says; in addition, the ability to take PhD-level courses reinforced her decision. “Now I’m sure of what I want to do after graduation. The master’s degree opened up my world.”

Jungmi took organic chemistry courses in her first year, expecting to continue developing her previous studies. But as she reviewed chemistry literature, she learned that organic chemistry techniques can be applied to inorganic materials as well. She added courses in materials chemistry and science from the engineering department and began conducting research in an on-campus nanomaterials lab where she will also complete her capstone project. In the nanoscience lab, Jungmi sees the potential not only for the cross-application of methods but for the fulfillment of an interest that led her to materials chemistry. “Chemists develop materials to make life better,” she explains. “Even if the research cannot be applied to certain products right away, I believe that it will have a huge impact on the world later.”

For Jungmi, the flexibility of the program allowed her to explore different professional and academic options and pursue the pathways that interest her. “There are many opportunities,” she says. “You can work in the industry through a research partnership or you can work on campus with fascinating faculty members.” Although, she adds, some of the program’s opportunities take place off-campus. “In my lab, we do a lot of extracurricular activities,” she says with a smile. “I volunteered at the Philly Science Festival and got to communicate my scientific knowledge to a younger generation of kids.”

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