ASU chemistry student shows passion for environmental chemistry, oceanography

Editor's note: This profile is part of a series showcasing students in the School of Molecular Sciences.

Logan Tegler is a senior majoring in chemistry and minoring in English literature at Arizona State University. Originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, she is a student at Barrett, The Honors College as well as a President’s Scholarship recipient, and has made the Dean’s List every semester of her impressive undergraduate career.

Tegler has a truly inspiring passion for environmental chemistry and oceanography and she has taken full advantage of the research opportunities provided to students at the School of Molecular Sciences by conducting research in Professor Ariel Anbar’s lab. 

“Logan’s been an exceptional member of my research team since the start of her sophomore year," Anbar said. "It has been a pleasure to see her develop a passion for isotope geochemistry and chemical oceanography. This interest ultimately led her to a summer internship at the Woods Hole Oceanography Institute, where she forged a new research partnership between my lab and one of their research groups that is breaking important new ground in understanding the chemistry of ancient oceans. Logan has a very bright future ahead of her!”

Tegler has been awarded two NASA Space Grant Fellowships and worked as a Summer Student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 2017.

Question: When did you first realize that you wanted to study chemistry?

Answer: As a high school senior, I was passionate about both my chemistry and English classes. So, as a college freshman, I began as a dual major in biochemistry and journalism with the goal of becoming a science writer. While I loved taking classes in both of these fields, I realized that I really enjoyed lab work. Now, I hope to pursue a career in research and spend my free time writing freelance science articles for popular consumption.

Q: What research opportunities have you had as a student here, and can you describe your research experience?

A: I started working with Dr. Ariel Anbar my sophomore year, more specifically with graduate student Alyssa Sherry, who trained me in laboratory fundamentals. During my tenure in Dr. Anbar’s lab, I’ve had many amazing opportunities including conducting research on three projects, presenting at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall meeting (the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world) and the upcoming 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, being awarded two NASA Space Grant Fellowships, and having the opportunity to work as a Summer Student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 2017. My Barrett senior thesis work, which is in conjunction with the research I did at WHOI, focuses on using osmium and iron isotopic analysis of deep-sea pelagic sediments in an attempt understand the importance of various iron sources to the ocean over the last 0–65 million years.

Q: What’s something you have learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: While at ASU, I had the opportunity to study both science and liberal arts. During my junior year, I took an English class titled "Whiteness and Critical Race Theory" taught by Dr. Lee Bebout. In addition to expanding my overall view on race theory and equality, this class also encouraged me to seek more diversity in STEM fields.

Q: What is your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot to study is at the Starbucks at the MU. In addition to a favorable proximity to caffeine, I particularly enjoy studying there because I never know whom I’ll run into. During my four years, I’ve met many classmates and friends who are always willing to take a break from studying and talk about their passion for their chosen field.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A: I hope to conduct research in chemical oceanography and isotope geochemistry to make data-driven inferences about the nature of the ocean’s history. After obtaining my PhD, I hope to become a faculty member who conducts novel research and helps students begin their research careers.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to students interested in coming to ASU to study chemistry or biochemistry?

A: First, I highly recommend going to office hours. In addition to pinpointing weaknesses or misunderstandings a student may have, they can gain a greater appreciation for the material. Second, I recommend that students get involved with research early in their college careers. By doing this, students can identify the areas of research that are the most interesting to them. Additionally, by the time they are juniors and seniors, they will be able to conduct research independently and begin to formulate answers to their own questions!

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Rachel Lee
School of Molecular Sciences
rlee46@asu.edu