Keuleyan had gotten into video production while in high school, and he started to consider pursuing a career in filmmaking. A friend from high school who had attended Temple as a film and media arts major and who now is working successfully in Los Angeles also served as an inspiration.
He applied to Temple, was accepted, and arrived on campus in the fall of 2003, spending the next three years as a film and media arts major. “I was doing well and really enjoying it,” Keuleyan said.
But during his freshman year, he met and started dating Noriko Udagawa, an international student from Japan who was majoring in biochemistry.
“Every once in a while, a conversation would come up about biochemistry and it always seemed interesting,” Keuleyan recalled. “Eventually, I started accompanying her to the Chemistry Department seminars, where visiting researchers come in and talk about the work they are doing. I’m sitting through these things, and some of them are pretty interesting to me.”
That’s where he met Chemistry Professor Eric Borguet in the spring of 2006.
“My first meeting with him, he knew nothing about me,” Keuleyan said. “He probably assumed I was a freshman chemistry major. Finally, I told him I was a third-year film major and asked him if majoring in chemistry was an option; was this something I could do?”
Borguet immediately said yes and took Keuleyan under his wing. He encouraged Keuleyan to continue attending the seminars, explained his research and invited him to sit in on meetings of his research group.
The two sat down and began to formulate a plan of what would be required for Keuleyan to finish his degree in film, but also get a degree in chemistry. “I didn’t want to completely let go of my film degree,” he said.
In fact, Keuleyan has thought about ways of merging chemistry with film.
“The biggest way I have seen is the use of media in science, especially in education,” he said. “Using media to link the abstract science with more general knowledge is something that I think I can carry forward.”
Keuleyan eventually was given projects of Borguet’s research group to work on, and currently, he is using scanning probe microscopy to understand how molecules act on surfaces.
He has been accepted into the prestigious graduate chemistry program at the University of Chicago, where hopes to earn his doctorate and then continue working in academic setting with his own research group someday.
“If I hadn’t run into Dr. Borguet in 2006, none of this would have likely happened,” said Keuleyan. “Temple has been everything to me. I’ve been here for five years. This really has happened because of the faculty who has supported me and Dr. Borguet, who has mentored me through this whole process.”