Study chemistry, will travel.
That’s how much of post-Appalachian life has worked out so far for Stacey Hughes, who in 2012 earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry - Environmental degree.
Hughes said her studies at Appalachian provided a solid foundation for her current job. She’s a graduate student researcher in an atmosphere-chemistry lab at the University of California, Irvine, where she hopes to earn a doctorate. She’s been studying samples of air all over the world, in such places as Hawaii, Guam and New Zealand.
Most recently, she was driving up the California coast, stopping every four hours or so to take air samples that were placed in canisters. The work took her to out-of-the-way places where cell and Internet service were shaky at best.
“When I finish, I want to continue researching,” Hughes said, referring to her plans after UC Irvine. “Working in this lab, I’ve been able to sample everywhere. I want to continue doing that as long as possible; after that, I’ll go into teaching, definitely at the university level.”
Hughes said the air samples she collects can be used to various ends – to determine, for example, the air quality before, during and after the time that a factory in China is retrofitted with a catalytic converter.
Hughes lauded her time at Appalachian, saying the school gave her opportunities to do research on the environment, in particular during the summer before her senior year. That experience solidified her interest in doing similar research after graduating.