Chemistry major Luke Gallion ’16 says a lot of people deserve credit for him being named a winner of a prestigious Goldwater scholarship.
“I have lots of faculty members who wrote me letters of recommendations, or reviewed my application and made suggestions, or had me in class and helped me get to where I am,” he said. “I think receiving this award is more of a reflection on the department and the university as a whole than it is a reflection solely on me.”
Goldwater scholarships, which provide up to $7,500 for school-related expenses, were established “to alleviate a critical current and future shortage of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers,” according to the program’s website. “A more realistic statement of the purpose, in today’s terms, is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified individuals to those fields of academic study and research.”
Gallion certainly fits that description. Since coming to Butler from Brownstown, Indiana, three years ago, he has been working with Professor Michael Samide on a project that can quickly and inexpensively detect dangerous metals in water.
This semester and into his senior year, he is working at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on a project to discover why the colors have faded on a work called “Painting a Fresco with Giotto #3” by Fernando Brizio. The piece is a white vase that Brizio stabbed with markers. The ink bled out of the markers, leaving circles of color, and the artist attached the markers to the vase.
Gallion hopes his work will lead to helping the museum either come up with a better way to display the artwork so the colors don’t fade or a recommendation for new materials the artist can use.
His resume also includes:
-Completing a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates in summer 2014 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he did 40 hours of chemistry research each week for ten weeks.
-Getting published in a peer-reviewed journal once, with another publication in progress.
-Presenting his work at two American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition events. He did a poster presentation in the fall 2014 meeting in Indianapolis, and he just gave a 20-minute talk in March at the spring 2015 meeting in Denver, Colorado.
-Participating with Samide and two other students in a chemistry outreach program. They go to elementary and middle schools in Indiana to do chemistry demonstrations designed to excite kids about science and provide them with information about careers in the sciences.
-Being named a Top 10 Male Student as a sophomore.
Gallion originally intended to go to Indiana State University and study in that school’s rural health program. But after receiving a Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship—which enabled him to go to any school in Indiana all expenses paid—he began looking around.
“As soon as I walked on Butler’s campus, I got that ‘I’m at home’ type of feeling,’” he said. “I knew once I took a tour that this is where I was going to end up.”
After graduation, he plans to go on to pursue a doctorate in either analytical or inorganic chemistry and become either a college professor or work in industry.
“Butler has provided me a lot of opportunities I don’t think I would have gotten at another school – for example, doing research,” he said. “The Chemistry Department here has been incredible.”