Degree: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
Graduation Date: May 2016
Hometown: Burlington, NJ
Even though he’s a quiet guy, some might say Charlie Ryan ’16 has a magnetic personality.
That’s because the GCU biochemistry major and former U.S. Marine absolutely loves his work in the GCU spectroscopy lab, where he has conducted research using the school’s NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) machine, and in other campus labs where he researches how molecules of carbon dioxide can be utilized, documents the activity of electrochemical cells, and checks product purity.
“GCU gave me the chance to better myself as well as opportunities to improve the world around me. I have fallen in love with learning, research, and mentoring while finding my passion for chemistry. After graduation, I also hope to attain a graduate fellowship and pursue a Ph.D.”
“We want to see if the product we’re looking for emerges,” Charlie explains to non-scientists looking over his shoulder in the lab. “We’re working to take the carbons in carbon dioxide and build chemical chains that will assist with creating renewable energy and plastics.” His research, conducted alongside faculty mentor Prasad Lakkaraju, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, is part of an ongoing effort to convert CO2 into chemicals and fuels that do not harm to the environment. Their goal is to create viable and renewable green methods of synthesizing chemicals that improve human life.
Charlie’s experience is unique among his fellow millennial classmates. The Burlington resident, new father, and former Marine went into the military right after high school. After being injured in Iraq, he returned to New Jersey and attended community college. Charlie was working at a local microbrewery when he became fascinated with the chemical processes behind creating the perfect craft beer.
The experience sparked his passion for chemistry, leading him to Georgian Court.
Now, more than two years later, Charlie’s time spent in GCU’s labs has been worth it. His work with Dr. Lakkaraju caught the attention of Liquid Light Chemicals, which has provided grant funding for the research project in recent years. Charlie has had two interviews with the Kendall Park-based company.
Story contributed by Gail H. Towns, Executive Director of Marketing & University Communications