Welcome Incoming Chemistry Student, Sam Touchette

On July 24, 2014 by Grad Forum

touchette_thumbnailBuilding on the success of our Incoming Student Series last summer, the Graduate Forum will again be publishing short profiles of incoming graduate students as a way of welcoming the new students to the Dartmouth community!

Sam Touchette is a first-year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry. He comes to Dartmouth from Westbrook, Maine, a small suburb of Portland. He traveled two states over to attend college at Tufts University, where he majored in chemistry. Thinking he wanted to be a research physician, Touchette enrolled in the typical chemistry courses. However, when he took the historically dreaded organic chemistry course, he was pleasantly surprised that he thoroughly enjoyed it, and he knew then that he was going to be an organic chemist.

Touchette soon joined an organic research group in college, working with Professor Clay Bennett on synthesizing sugars. He learned that while attention to detail is important in research, keeping an eye on the big picture is equally essential.

Following undergrad, Touchette traveled north to Dartmouth for graduate school. He wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of Boston and move to a quieter location where he could really focus on what he was passionate about. He also wanted to partake in the many outdoor activities that the Upper Valley has to offer.

For the summer, Touchette is working with Professor Jimmy Wu, creating new chiral phosphorothioate ester compounds (possible precursors for medical compounds), that could be useful synthetic intermediates to many in his field. When asked what he plans to do after he obtains his PhD, Touchette remarked that he is leaving his options open—he is interested in both academia and industry. However, he does enjoy teaching, so becoming a professor is an attractive option for the future.

When Touchette is not at the lab bench, he enjoys playing chess and tennis, hiking, and home brewing his own mead. Welcome to Dartmouth, Sam, and good luck with your graduate studies!

by Molly Croteau

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