Griffin’s final homework assignment
Griffin J. LaChapelle is among the more than 1,500 students graduating from the Faculty of Science on June 15th. We asked Griffin, and nine other remarkable students, to look back at their time at McMaster and share what they learned, what they’ll miss and who helped them along the way. Here’s Griffin’s final homework assignment:
The best advice you got as a student?
Get involved, make connections and never settle for mediocrity.
The best advice you’d give to a first-year student?
Never be afraid to ask questions – there are people who want to help!
The professor who pushed you the hardest and challenged you to aim higher?
Dr. Gary Schrobilgen. As my instructor for inorganic chemistry and my supervisor for my BSc thesis, Professor Schrobilgen helped instill the importance of being critical, precise, and confident when working in academia.
The unsung hero who went above and beyond for you at McMaster?
Recent Ph.D. graduate Mark Bortolus. Mark not only assisted me as my graduate student supervisor during my BSc thesis but he also provided great insight and advice on carrying out research, applying for scholarships, and pursuing graduate school.
The one thing you never got around to doing?
Joining any clubs. As a full-time student, tutor, teaching and research assistant, I was never able to join the many clubs and communities that McMaster has to offer.
The one thing you’ll miss the most about McMaster?
The sense of community, in particular within the Chemistry and Chemical Biology department. Fortunately, I will be returning as a graduate student so I will get to be a part of this community for several more years.
The most important thing you learned in the classroom?
It is okay to make mistakes and university is a place where you can make mistakes in a safe environment.
The most important thing you learned outside the classroom?
It is important to make time for yourself. Make friends, have fun, enjoy your time at McMaster.
Your best day as a Mac student?
The day I handed in my thesis. Eight months of hard work and determination were all compiled into 70 pages. The research and writing process involved for this project really helped solidify my passion and drive to continue to pursue research.
The one thing you know now that you didn’t know on your first day at McMaster?
Professors, teaching assistants, and instructors are people too! In first year, I was extremely nervous to talk to them but once I had become a TA myself and a research assistant I realized that they thoroughly enjoy talking to students.
A moment that mattered at Mac?
Studying late into the night with my best friends in Thode and the A.N. Bourns Science Building.
What was it like being a student at Mac during the pandemic?
Exceptionally challenging. Given that chemistry is a very hands-on discipline, having online courses greatly impacted the learning experience, especially considering that most of the learning in the lab happens when you make mistakes.
MSc in Chemistry at McMaster with the Emslie Research Group
Griffin’s McMaster highlights reel:
- A+ grades
- NSERC CGS-M
- 2x NSERC USRA
- BSc Thesis, XeF2 Coordination Complexes of the [BrO2]+ Cation, [O2Br(FXeF)n][AsF6] (n = 1, 2) and [O2Br(FXeF)2][SbF6]: Their Syntheses and Structural Characterizations, Published in Inorganic Chemistry, selected as Feature Article and ACS Editor’s Choice Article
- American Chemical Society Division of Fluorine Undergraduate Research Award
- Dubeck Chemistry Award
- Provost Honour Roll Medal (2019, 2022)
- The Dr. Harry Lyman Hooker Scholarship
- Donald G. McNabb Scholarship
- The John and Helen Maxwell Scholarship
- The Klaus Fritze Memorial Prize