Eastern student receives national chemistry scholarship

Luis Martinez, Entertainment Editor

Upon hearing he won a scholarship, Aramis Smith said he felt many emotions; Smith said he felt like running marathon.

Smith, a sophomore chemistry major, is the recipient of the American Chemical Society Scholarship, a nationally recognized award.

“It felt like running a marathon, a 1000-mile marathon, and at the end, after all your hard work, you’re tired and exhausted, you run 10 more laps and you even more tired and then they tell you that you can finally stop,” Smith said.

Smith said because it is a national award, he knew it was highly competitive so he began the application process last spring.

Smith said the application process wanted him to not only send in a resume, but also three letters of recommendation.

“It was online, so (there were) lots of questionnaires, lots of statements online, lots of transcripts they wanted me to send in,” Smith said. “(It was) majority email and phone calls, or solely email.”

Smith said his letters of recommendation came from people who knew him well including his research professors and the coordinator of the student success center.

“It felt like a huge relief. I was excited, my mama, she was excited. It was one of the biggest things that happened to me that whole year, in my academic career so far.”

Smith also said he was in disbelief that he won this national scholarship.

“The award is $3,000, and it is divided evenly amongst the fall and spring semester,” Smith said. “So far, I’ve been awarded $1,500 and as long as I provide my most recent transcripts at the end of this semester, I can receive my second stipend check.”

Smith has big goals he wants to accomplish when he receives his college degree from Eastern.

“There’s so much you can do with a chemical degree,” Smith said. “My main focus would be on research and I really aspire in the future to actually open a chemical manufacturing plant.”

Smith said the plant would be similar to Sigma Aldrich, an American multinational chemical company.

Smith said his reason behind choosing to study chemistry is because he believes it to be at the center of every day life.

“It’s the central science. You have to learn aspects of biology, you have to learn aspects of physics, math is always incorporated, English is always incorporated,” Smith said. “Everything (is) always related back to chemistry in real life. It’s like the study of reality.”

Smith said another aspect of chemistry he finds fascinating is the experimental process behind it.

“I love the experiments, no other major, to me, has me experiment like I do in chemistry,” Smith said. “It’s really cool. You can make a lot of medicines, you can study the body and it’s everywhere all the time. It’s everything, whether you know it or not.”

Smith said he wants to thank everyone who supported him in his life, including his sister, the manager of the American Chemical Society scholars program, his girlfriend and Michael Gillespie, a sociology professor.

Smith said if he could tell any incoming student interested in chemistry or college in general, he would tell them to budget their time.

“When I first heard that, I could fit stuff in a schedule, scheduling is so, so very important. It’s important because you have to keep track of due dates, tests, quizzes, spots for free time and studying— everything is scheduled.”


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]