Chemistry student finds his ‘element’ in research

Posted: December 15th, 2014

Erik Sletten has been academically outstanding in his courses throughout his chemistry degree, and has become American Chemical Society (A.C.S.) certified after taking a few additional higher level courses.

During his time at CSU, Sletten has been a part of two research teams. He worked in Robert Williams’s organic chemistry research group, assisting a postdoctoral researcher in synthesizing various compounds from natural products. For the last year, he has worked in Joseph DiVerdi’s nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) laboratory researching various pretreatment methods onErik_NMR_Room-300x300 sorghum biomass studied by NMR spectroscopy. Sletten says this has been an incredible experience with a mentor who has given him much more than he can give back in return.

Sletten weathered the sudden passing of his research mentor, Gary Maciel, last spring, shortly after starting his research work with him and DiVerdi. Maciel was on his way to meet Dr. Diverdi and Erik when he died.

Sletten spends a lot of time in the lab every day – not because he is required to – but rather because of his interest and passion to learn more than he knew the day before. He was nominated as the undergraduate student for Maciel’s Dreyfus Senior Scientist Mentor program. The award is based on the chemistry faculty’s evaluation of a student’s undergraduate research activities and it recognizes demonstrated ability, hard work and dedication to excellence. He is very proud of this achievement.

Upon graduation, Sletten hopes to find a job in the chemical industry. He says his interests in science are essentially boundless and he could see himself doing a lot of different things for a living. He would prefer a position in a research and development environment that would foster his curiosity and further develop him as a scientist. He also is not at all opposed to pursuing even higher education in the future.

Read more graduate stories at the SOURCE.