Rodrigo Villanueva

“To me, organic chemistry is like an elegant, never-ending puzzle. There are numerous solutions to an infinite amount of problems, which I think is a beautiful thing.”

Hometown: Janesville, WI

Major(s): Chemistry

Current Research Group: Yoon


What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to continue doing research while concurrently pursuing a PhD in organic chemistry. My enamoration with organic synthesis has only grown since beginning research, so I hope to have the opportunity to further my knowledge and experience in a group focused on developing novel catalytic systems that can have a variety of modern synthetic applications.

Why did you get involved in research?

Before discovering organic chemistry, I had never felt particularly passionate about an academic field. When I realized how invested I was becoming in learning more and more about organic chemistry, I acknowledged the significance of my interest and decided to pursue active involvement. When I expressed my interest to my CHEM 343 professor, Dr. Aubrey Ellison, she was kind enough to guide me through the necessary steps to become involved in research.

Briefly describe your favorite part about research

To me, the beautiful thing about research is the consistent exploration of undiscovered processes. There is a seemingly limitless space for development and pursuit of new ideas, where even the ideas that don’t work have potential to provide insight into certain undiscovered mechanisms. The advancement of these ideas in the form of good results is something that I have found to be extremely rewarding, especially given the collaborative nature behind many of these projects.