Skip to main content

mentee AND mentor

Dr. Nicholas Robertson, 2004 chemistry graduate 

My freshman year I enrolled in a general chemistry class taught by Dr. Mike Carney, a UW-Eau Claire grad who had just returned to campus to teach after working in industry for a decade. After the class, Dr. Carney invited me to work with him on a summer research project. I didn't understand the science yet, but the processes in the lab were fun and I was instantly hooked. I enjoyed working on new reactions that no one in the world had tried before. I continued to be part of Dr. Carney's research team until I graduated in 2004. It's the main reason I decided to pursue graduate school and my experience paved the way for my successes at Cornell University. I hit the ground running thanks to my lab skills. I now teach chemistry to undergraduate students at Northland College in Ashland, where I have an active research group of my own. I teach my undergraduate researchers the same way I was taught;I get them working in the lab right away. Since Northland is a small college with limited infrastructure to support complex research, I collaborate with Dr. Carney and his students on projects. As a result, we have three generations of Blugolds working together on meaningful research. My time with Dr. Carney changed my career path and enabled me to reach a far higher academic level than I otherwise would have been able to. Those experiences led me to a career that has been immensely satisfying and enjoyable. And as a result of his efforts, I've been able to mentor students who have started pursuing graduate school as well, so the cycle continues.