KENNESAW, Ga. | Jun 23, 2023
If she’s not in the lab, you can find Kennesaw State senior Ariane Charland-Martin on one of her favorite hiking trails around the area. This is where she decompresses from life as a dual bachelor’s and master’s student studying chemistry.
In combining her love of the environment and her love for chemistry, she helps create conjugated polymers from which organic electronics can be made, and that can be degraded when their usefulness has passed. That excites Charland-Martin, who said she feels she is doing something to reduce pollution and help the environment.
“The idea that our polymers can be processed into thin films for flexible screens, that's incredible. But I think the part that I enjoy the most is the sustainability aspect,” she said. “Plastic pollution is a big issue, and I'm actively trying to make it so that they can be degradable. That’s exciting to me.”
Through KSU’s Double-Owl program, Charland-Martin is now on a fast track to both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry, and to continue this impactful research.
“It’s a bit of extra work, but I love what I’m doing,” Charland-Martin said. “The Double-Owl will put me in a good spot for a career in chemistry, which is a program I wasn’t aware of before I came to KSU.”
The Double-Owl program affords undergraduates the opportunity to take up to nine credit hours toward a master’s degree while still an undergraduate, which saves money and time for a student. Charland-Martin carries a full load of undergraduate courses and has started on her master’s studies with a couple of graduate classes, including polymer chemistry and research skills and ethics, in Fall 2022. Instead of four years for a bachelor’s plus two years of graduate school for a master’s, she’ll finish both in five years.
Her journey started in Spring 2022 with research in the polymer chemistry laboratory of assistant professor Graham Collier, who suggested she apply for the Birla Carbon Scholars program that offers a stipend for 10 weeks of research in the summer. One of 11 scholars, she won the top prize at the annual symposium in August 2022. As she gained experience in the lab and a love for the science, she learned about the prospects for a scientist with a master’s in chemistry.
“Dr. Collier suggested that I look into the Double-Owl program and build my research project into a master’s thesis,” said Charland-Martin, also a KSU Journey Honors College student. “Knowing how a master’s degree in chemistry can help me in my career, I decided to go for it.”
Charland-Martin arrived at Kennesaw State in Fall 2020 and said that she chose KSU for its proximity to home and her part-time job, as well as its affordability. After her Birla Carbon Scholars project in Summer 2022, Collier hired her as a paid research assistant through his grant from the National Science Foundation. He said Charland-Martin’s love of chemistry and passion for research come through in her presence as a leader in the lab.
“Ariane brings an infectious enthusiasm to her project and the lab culture,” he said. “Since she joined the research group, she quickly ascended to a leadership position and has really helped grow the group’s expertise in a new direction. Overall, she is an exemplary student and a great ambassador for the Double-Owl program.”
– By Dave Shelles
This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Kennesaw State University Magazine.
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.