Alpha Chi Sigma Blog News

Interview with Dr. Poniatowski (In Progress)

January 2020

Q:What is your favorite thing about being at the University of Michigan?

Being surrounded by capable, motivated people; it's inspiring and contagious.

Q:Describe what you do here at the University of Michigan.

I'm an educator. This primarily means formal classroom and laboratory instruction, but also includes a significant amount of time dedicated to mentoring students as they develop as leaders and scientists. (I have a bunch of administrative responsibilities as well, but those aren't very exciting to talk about at parties.)

Q:As scientists, what do you think our greatest obligation to the general public is?

Commitment to analyzing data honestly, without bias.

Q:What is your facorite thing specifically about chemistry?

Imagining new materials, and devising methods to create those materials. It's humbling to take a step back and realize our community routinely makes new matter as if it were no big deal.

Q:What are some of your hobbies?

Presently, raising children. Though I encourage you to check back in ca. 16 years (depending on how recently this was written), as I may yet find time for hobbies of my own again.

Q:What is your favorite element?


Q:What is the best chemistry of science pun/joke you've heard?

STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE, OK? A proton walks into a bar. The bartender asks "what'll ya have?" The proton replies "give me a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster." The bartender asks nervously " sure?" The proton shouts "I'm positive!" Closely related: A neutron walks into a bar. The bartender recognizes the neutron as a regular customer, and promptly serves the neutron the usual. The neutron asks "what do I owe you?", to which the bartender replies "for you, no charge!" Ok, ok, one more!: An electron walks into a bar, in a world-weary sort of way, and asks the bartender for a drink. The electron complains to the bartender "I'm feeling down in the dumps, stuck in the ground state all the time, I just don't see how I can possibly escape this low-energy existence!" To which the bartender replies, "Don't be so negative! Get excited, and I'm sure that before you know it you'll be up for promotion!"

Q:What are some interesting things about yourself?

I'd describe myself as a mediocre chemist who had to work very hard to get that way. I don't think I'm someone with "natural" ability for science. The ways in which I have had to confront my own shortcomings and motivations as a learner have helped me develop as a teacher, though. For example, it's less of a challenge for me to empathize with a beginner because I can remember quite clearly being awful when starting out.

Q:What advice would you give current students?

Short term advice: Decide to do at least one thing everyday that makes you happy, and also one thing that helps you overcome a fear. It doesn't matter what theyare, as long as they matter to you. Long term advice: Make a plan for yourself. Keep it simple, make it powerful, and make it flexible. Do something every day that moves you along that path, stay humble, and get after it. Life advice: You'll meet two types of people in the world: those who look for the worst in others, and those who look for the best in others. Try to be the latter, and avoid the former.

Dustin Meldrum

November 2015

I graduated from UofM with a chemical engineering degree (BSE`10, MSE`11) after being a F'07 pledge and multi-year Room M resident. Taking my sweet time to graduate, I alternated semesters between Ann Arbor and ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge, LA and Houston, TX. After graduation, I moved to Houston to work as a reservoir engineer for ExxonMobil Production Company, building computer simulation models, optimizing daily production, and making up long-term forecasts and economics for offshore West African oil fields. Worrying what I might be missing out on, I left ExxonMobil for Murphy Oil to explore an international business development role, making up bigger numbers with less data in a more diverse range of oilfield types and locations.

Realizing I would have to spend the rest of my life anxious about becoming an expert in something I didn't care about for an industry that didn't need me in a city I didn't love, I left my job in petroleum to move home to Michigan to build a small cheesemaking company. Since August 2015, I have lived the dream as a bum, residing in my mom's basement and building a food lab in a warehouse in Ferndale. If all goes well, I will spend the next year developing fermenty food products as well as helping other local food companies solve their food production problems as part of a larger public market development in the Ferndale area. I look forward to certain failure with the knowledge I did the right thing with my life

Pledge Class: Fall 2007

Alumnus: Joseph Hubbard

October 2015

I am currently a first year student (P1) in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. Many of my classes revolve around getting to know the profession of pharmacy, learning the basics of drug delivery, and solidifying foundations in biology, chemistry, and physiology. I have not decided the career field I may take, but my interests are hospital pharmacy, the pharmaceutical industry and/or managed care.

Something that has kept me preoccupied other than schoolwork has been pledging Phi Delta Chi (PDC), a professional pharmacy fraternity at the College of Pharmacy. My experience at the Alpha Beta Chapter was very positive, and I hope that PDC will be just as beneficial. Furthermore, I enjoy running and tubing along the Huron River. Lastly, I recently became an uncle to my nephew Cyrus so I try to spend as much time as possible with him. Given that I am still at the University of Michigan, I hope to stop by whenever possible and catch up with all the brothers.

Pledge Class: Winter 2013

Big: Lauren Bacans

Littles: Austen Carie and Alex Bedard

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