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James Breton ’19 Dives Deep Into Chemistry

James Breton '19

“When I started learning about research, one thing I heard often people talk about was the feeling you get when you are researching something that’s your own, something that no one else is doing,” says undergraduate researcher James Breton ’19.

“Where the research is my own, and I’m adding information–however small it may be–it’s still something I give out to the world,” Breton says.

Breton is a Chemistry major in the Educational Opportunity Program/Advancement on Individual Merit (EOP/AIM) program who is on track to complete the Chemistry Department’s combined BS/MS degree program in 4 rather than 5 years. He has already begun taking graduate-level coursework and is also completing a minor in Africana Studies.

James Breton '19
URECA student James Breton ’19

One year ago, Breton joined the laboratory of Dr. Surita Bhatia (Department of Chemistry) where he began doing research and experiments on the rheology of soft gels and materials. He will be continuing to work with Dr. Bhatia as his advisor for the master’s thesis next year.

Last summer, Breton participated in a NSF-funded REU program at Kansas State where he worked with Dr. Tendai Gadzikwa and her group on a project to develop our understanding of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). This past October, he was selected to participate in the MIT-Access program which seeks to increase the diversity of qualified applicants to PhD programs in chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science – another transformative experience which indeed strengthened his future goal of pursuing a PhD in Physical Chemistry.

Breton has been involved as a General Chemistry tutor (August 2017-present), and as a Teaching Assistant for the EOP/AIM Pre-Freshman Summer Academy (Summer 2017). He is an active member of the Student African American Brotherhood/SAAB, and the Chi Alpha Epsilon honor society. His hobbies include biking and handball; he also enjoys coding in MATLAB. He is a first-generation college student, a resident of the Bronx, and a graduate of the Academy for Software Engineering in New York City.

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