Posted May 4, 2012

Faces of Temple: Laine Radell


Name: Laine Radell

Year: Senior

School: College of Science and Technology

Major: Chemistry

Home town: Clarks Summit, Pa.

Why I chose at Temple: "It was appeal of the big city and the vast number of programs that Temple has. Going to school in a city is great because there's so much to do and experience. There are museums, professional sports teams — there's always something new to explore. Philadelphia and its transportation system also enable you to visit other cities. While I was at Temple, I went to New York for a day for dinner with my friend, and I went to DC to visit my grandparents."

Transformative moments: "When I came to Temple, I was interested in a lot of things — history, maybe international business or accounting — but I was a little leery about science. At orientation, all the classes I wanted to register for were taken. Then I saw 'Chemistry of Wine.' It seemed to be the only class that fit into my schedule. I had no idea what to expect. I had taken chemistry in high school, but this was different. It was basic chemistry, applied to something tangible: wine and wine-making. We learned how chemistry made the colors and tastes of wine come about. I could understand it. It made it real. I thought chemistry was great!

"After I declared I was a chemistry major, I did well. But I wanted to do something hands-on. I saw that Temple has an undergraduate research program. I read about Dr. Robert Levis, who directs the Center for Advanced Photonics Research. They do laser electrospray mass-spectrometry, which means they look at the way compounds and molecules interact with light in the form of an intense laser beam. I walked into his office and asked, 'What opportunities do you have for me?' He gave me a short presentation on what he does, I agreed and he said 'OK, here you go, have fun.' And he threw me in the lab!

"I've done several projects. I have my own paper coming out in a month or so in the journal Analytical Chemistry. I did an experiment taking eight different flower petals and hitting them with the laser. I found a way to differentiate (their mass spectral signatures) easily.

"I don't know how many people will read that article. But it's good to know that my hard work will pay off and someone will learn something from it. Seeing your name on journal article says no matter what you are doing in the lab — whether it's mixing solutions, analyzing data or just cleaning up — you're contributing to human knowledge."