Posted on Friday, October 20, 2017
Last year, Pennsylvania and Ohio legalized medical cannabis— a move that will contribute to the growth of the chemical cannabis industry in the next few years. Senior chemistry major Nate Cavlovic hopes to be a part of that trend. Recently, Nate received a research grant from the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research to fund a drug testing chemistry lab that will create opportunities for Westminster students to study hemp products.
“Since cannabis chemistry is such an important topic in today's society, there needs to be a chemistry lab that exposes undergraduates to its analysis,” states Nate. “The lab would incorporate common laboratory techniques, including High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and could provide direct experience for undergraduates to find a career in cannabis chemistry.”
Dr. Helen Boylan, professor of chemistry, is Nate’s mentor for this project. Nate says Dr. Boylan's limitless knowledge and enthusiasm for this project made working with her very enjoyable and rewarding.
“She really cares about seeing her students achieve their research goals, and it was a grand honor being able to work under her,” he added.
Nate’s biggest takeaways from this project is the confidence he gained as a researcher throughout this process and the experience of working independently on his own project. Nate believes that getting the opportunity to work independently and set his own pace and goals will be useful when he starts a chemistry career.
“I would like to go straight into working a chemical analysis job [after graduation],” said Nate. “My end goal would be to find a career in forensic analysis, working as a chemist in the criminal justice system. I think that my experience with my research project could easily land me a career in the continually-expanding cannabis chemistry industry, and I would not be opposed to that at all.”