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Graduate Student Highlight: Steven Taylor

10 May 2021
Steven Taylor

Each week, the Department of Chemistry highlights a group of graduate students who are doing interesting work within the department. In this installment of our highlight series, we are featuring Steven Taylor, who is a seventh-year student in the Weinreb lab.  

Steven’s research involves the total synthesis of two indole-containing alkaloid natural products from a common intermediate. Outside of the lab, he is involved in Synthesis Club.

This week, we met virtually with Steven to discuss his life in and outside of the lab! Please enjoy our interview with Steven Taylor.

Question: How did you get interested in chemistry?

Answer: Since I was five years old, I have had an interest in chemistry.  My dad is a chemist, and I remember seeing his laboratory and being amazed by the work he did.  In fifth grade, my interest grew because of my science teacher; his entertaining teaching style and hands-on activities gave me an appreciation of the sciences and a desire to learn more.  In eleventh grade, I took an organic chemistry class and immediately became intrigued with the subject, and I knew that I wanted to study it further.  

Q: What inspires you as a scientist?

A: I get inspired by the fact that synthetic chemistry can transform simple compounds into more complex molecules with a variety of uses.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of? 

A: Presenting my research at the ACS spring 2019 national meeting in Orlando.

Q: Where did you grow up? 

A: Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh.  Famous alumni from my school district include Kurt Angle, Mark Cuban, and Joe Manganiello.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

A: I play the guitar.

Q: What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

A: I would enjoy playing guitar, lifting weights, and hanging out with friends.

Q: What’s your dream vacation?

A: I've always wanted to visit Australia. 

Q: If you could have dinner with anybody (living or dead), who would it be and why? 

A: I'd probably have dinner with Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler.  I feel like he'd have a lot of interesting stories to share, and we both enjoy Italian food.

Bonus Question: Do you have any fun science trivia to share?

A: An iPhone contains seventy-five of the one hundred and eighteen elements on the periodic table.

Thanks to Steven for these interesting and thoughtful answers! We hope you enjoyed this interview. Stay tuned for more graduate student highlights in the weeks to come!