Proving the Impossible, Possible: LVC Alum Reflects on Academic Journey

Tim Carroll went on to earn his Ph.D. after graduating with a chemistry degree from Lebanon Valley College

Dr. Tim Carroll ’15, a chemistry major, was drawn to LVC’s small and welcoming community, where he felt as if his presence would have an impact. Moreover, Carroll was attracted to the College’s paid, summer undergraduate research program. 

“At LVC, I did not feel like a number, but more of a valued addition to the College,” said Carroll.  “I was also 100% financially responsible for my education, so being granted a substantial academic scholarship was a huge driver in choosing LVC.”

Compared to large universities where students often battle for research opportunities in their senior year, Carroll conducted research as a first-year student under the guidance of Dr. Marc Harris, formerly chair of chemistry and current dean of the faculty. Throughout his research, Carroll formed a close bond with Dr. Harris, who encouraged and assisted him through the graduate application process.

“The program was amazing not only because it provided me with the chance to learn and gain valuable research experience,” said Carroll. “But it was also a source of income. I had never considered graduate school until Dr. Harris showed me how I could achieve my Ph.D. while completing paid research.”

After completing his research, Carroll presented at various local and national conferences, allowing him to network with a range of scientists as he completed his graduate school applications.

After graduating from LVC, Carroll decided on UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he completed his Ph.D. in synthetic inorganic/organometallic chemistry. There, Carroll participated in several research projects, authored four publications, and collaborated on a project published in Nature magazine. 

“The techniques I learned as a research student at LVC helped me get a running start in my research at UCSB,” said Carroll. 

Recently, Carroll started a postdoctoral position at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, where he works as a research scientist in the center for molecular catalysis group. Carroll and his partners are driven to understand fuels that will efficiently and sustainably convert electrical energy into chemical bonds, or chemical energy into electrical energy. In the long run, Carroll hopes his research will help propel him toward a career in academia. 

To all prospective LVC students, Carroll encourages them to seize every opportunity presented.

“You are at the college to learn, and you learn through experiences,” said Carroll. “With that, take advantage of the study abroad program. Studying abroad was a turning point for me to challenge myself and to gain a completely new perspective of the world and my place in it.”

 

-- Parker Gallagher, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant