Research experience crystalizes link between chemistry and public policy

Annie GreenawayAnnie Greenaway '12

By Rob O'Connor '95
Managing Editor

The only kind of research that Annie Greenaway '12 never made time for was searching for a college to attend.

She turned the process over to her father, who read about Hendrix in a college guide. Hendrix was the only southern school on her short list. She applied and the first acceptance letter she opened was from Hendrix. A great financial aid package didn't hurt either. Ditto her impression of the chemistry department and its emphasis on green chemistry.

"We have an amazing chemistry department," said Greenaway, a senior chemistry major and politics minor from Westminster, Colo.

Greenaway was initially resistant to chemistry as a major. She feared it wouldn't provide a strong enough avenue to apply her interest in politics and public service.

"It took me a really long time to come around and reconcile chemistry with something that was socially relevant," she said.

The turning point for her was a 10-week summer internship with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colo., between her sophomore and junior years.

"It was a great experience," she said. "When I went to that lab, I realized I wanted to do research and work in a lab."

Greenaway reapplied for a second internship with NREL and worked on a related topic during the following summer. She has also worked as a research assistant with Hendrix chemistry professor Dr. Courtney Hatch '00. She will present the research at an American Chemical Society conference in San Diego, Calif.

In addition to her scientific pursuits, Greenaway performed as a violinist in the College's chamber orchestra for two years. She has also served as a member of the Project Pericles Advisory Committee and the Hendrix Special Events Committee, as vice president of the Hendrix chapter of the American Chemical Society, and as president of the Hendrix Culinary Club.

In spring 2011, Greenaway was one of three Hendrix students to be awarded the 2011 Goldwater Scholarship from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, widely considered the most prestigious honor in the U.S. conferred upon undergraduates studying the sciences.

At the same time, Greenaway was also selected as a 2011 Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, which recognizes students "with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in public service."

The Truman Scholarship will support much of her graduate education. As a Truman Scholar, she has pledged to work three years in a public service field — education, government, military or a non-profit — after graduate school. This summer, she'll spend 10 weeks in Washington, D.C., working with a congressman or a think tank on science and policy.

Greenaway wasn't even on campus to enjoy her successful spring semester. She was studying abroad in Belgium through the Hendrix-in-Brussels program, where she completed an internship that focused on in vitro screening of chemical compounds and researched the renewable energy efforts of European Union countries and their promotion of solar, wind, and other fossil fuel alternatives.

After graduation, Greenaway plans to pursue a doctorate in chemistry, conduct research at a national lab such as NREL, and ultimately transition into energy policy.

"I'm really, really passionate about energy in the U.S. We have to move away from carbon-based fuels such as oil and natural gas, which eventually are going to run out," she said. "Renewable energy provided me with a focus and a model of what you can do with chemistry and why it's important."