CSI Chemistry Major Weighs Options for Grad School

The story of CSI Chemistry major and senior Chin Ming (Benjamin) Hui is one of perseverance and commitment, and one of great success. He has recently reported that he has gained acceptance to Doctoral Chemistry programs at Carnegie Mellon University, Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, and Temple University, but he faced many obstacles on his road to success.

Benjamin came to the United States from Hong Kong at the age of 17, barely able to speak English and unfamiliar with U.S. culture, but with a hope to someday find a cure for smallpox. The death of his father from cancer eventually energized his goal of pursuing a career in science. Benjamin recalls that his father was skilled in engineering, particularly when it came to fixing electronics in his family’s home, but his father never received a college education because he had to work to support his family. After his father’s death, Benjamin eventually came to realize that his own “tirelessness, studiousness, and intelligence were inherited from my father. I believed he would want me to use my talent to help people, instead of grieving. Therefore, I promised to save people from illness, and help everyone stay healthy. That’s why I am interested in researching in chemistry and medical technology.”

Eventually, Benjamin, who gained experience in engineering in his teens at a computer company, where he had to work to help support his family, came to CSI. “My enrollment at CSI turned my life 180 degrees. While attending school here, I have enjoyed many opportunities to gain the experimental knowledge and theoretical techniques, which have satisfied my interest in the mathematics and science fields. I have also broadened my knowledge and improved my language skills by attending scientific conferences. In addition, hands-on experiences in the laboratory, field work, and lectures from graduate students and leading researchers have engaged my mind and captured my interest. I believe that studying science is the only way to save the world from global warming and defend human beings against diseases. That’s why I am always curious about every matter that is happening in science field, which could not be demystified by other fields.”

Benjamin also received a scholarship from STEAM, which is short for Science & Technology Expansion via Applied Mathematics, a comprehensive, National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program that expands and supports undergraduate education in all areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Benjamin recalls, “During the summer semester of 2006, I began a research project in chemistry, namely, the synthesis and characterization of large-pore silica under the direction of Dr. Michal Kruk who is an Assistant Professor at CSI. We proposed materials that were appropriated in drug delivery and catalysis in pharmaceutical science, as well as low-k insulating material, which is useful in the engineering industry. I want to thank you Dr. Kruk especially for babysitting me for more than three years. He has taught me a lot of knowledge in chemistry, and above all, in research. He does care about my study and future. He made me feel confident again as a foreign speaker, foreign student.”

As Benjamin pursued his studies at the College, he still didn’t have an easy time of it, having to work many jobs to support his family. In fact, he was often so tired from working that he was often drowsy in class. However, he carried on and gained the knowledge and expertise to make a number of graduate schools take notice.

As for the future, Benjamin looks forward to a career as a researcher and to contributing to academic society, after he receives his PhD.

Chin Ming (Benjamin) Hui and his mentor CSI Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Michal Kruk.

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