Name: Brice Harkey
Degree being sought: Polymer Science BS
Research group: Wiggins Research Group
Area of study: Organic polymer synthesis, composite matrix polymers, & characterization techniques, extrusionCationic Polymerization Initiators
Hometown: Mobile, AL
Give a brief synopsis of research/work being done
I work very closely with the synthesis of organic polymers, as well as composite matrix polymers, and characterization techniques. Most of the work that has been done has been under the graduate student Christopher Childers, and with him I have synthesized epoxy samples from different materials including TGDDM, 44DDS, and 33DDS. I have just recently moved over to a new graduate student and will be working very closely with the extruder as well as the extruding process.
From your current perspective, what do you see as an ideal fit for your skills, goals and career moving forward?
I believe that an ideal fit for my skills, goals, and careers includes something along the lines of the biomedical uses of polymers. I am very interested in controlled drug delivery, as well as biomedical applications. I have not yet decided whether or not graduate school is for me, or if jumping straight into industry is the best fit, but I have just recently picked up a chemistry minor to add to my undergraduate career. From there I will be deciding what is best for my career and my future. My goals are set very high and I am always striving to perform to the best of my ability; therefore, I know that I will make the best decision.
Why did you choose USM?
I chose USM because of the opportunities that are given through the University. Southern Mississippi is now what I call home, and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. I have had so many doors open for me not only through the University itself, but also through the Polymer Science Department. The staff here at the University are all so approachable and genuinely care about your future, which is why I made the decision to become enrolled at USM.
I have been awarded with the Regional Scholarship, Golden Opportunity Scholarship, and the Sydney Lauren Scholarship through the Waterborne Symposium.
Who or what influenced your USM education the most?
The staff within the polymer department have influenced me and motivated me to do my absolute best at all time. I have always strived for good grades, yet, having professors there to push you really has helped me in my academic career. I really look up to Dr. Broadhead!
I am apart of the Beta Sigma Chapter of Kappa Delta. I hold an executive position as the Academic Excellence chair for my sorority. This is so important to me, not only because I push others the way I would like to be pushed about making good grades, but the sisterhood has without a doubt caused me to grow into a more beautiful woman each and every day. I grow as a person each day, and I have been supported and given the confidence to reach for my dreams, and I could have never done it without the support of my chapter.
What was your most profound turning point while attending USM?
I would have to say that my most profound turning point at USM was changing my major to polymer science after initially being in a different program. It was the best decision that I could have ever made, and I love what I do at work in the lab and what I am learning in my classes. I am so eager to learn, and it was never like that for me in any other program!
What USM memory do you treasure most?
Honestly, I would have to say being awarded the Sydney Lauren Scholarship. I have never been so proud of myself! I congratulate whoever is nominated this year!
What are your plans for next year and beyond?
Next year, I will be a senior at USM. Beyond graduation, I hope to move somewhere along the East coast, hopefully in Tennessee or South Carolina, and achieve my dreams of working a career that I adore, and establishing a home. I have never been more excited to get my life started, and I feel like that is the first building block to my success!
What is an interesting (personal) fact about yourself?
I am a very competitive horseback rider, as well as softball player. I also am currently training for a half marathon. I love to run!
What was one of your greatest challenges attending USM?
I am not from Mississippi, so I would have to say that my greatest challenge was moving away from home, even though I was extremely eager to get out of Alabama, and having to adjust to the college life as well as balancing everything from work to school. Now, as a Junior, I look back and am so gracious and thankful for all that I am offered now, and the challenge was definitely worth it to be standing where I am now.