Post-graduate fellowship studying chemistry in Germany

Katharyn Fletcher ’09

Katharyn Fletcher ’09

Katharyn Fletcher ’09 

Academic focus: chemistry and german studies double major

Research group: Gomez Lab

Research abroad: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Hamburg

Advanced degrees: M.A., Physical Chemistry Institut fur Physikalische Chemie, Universitat Hamburg; and Ph.D., Universitat Heidelberg

After graduating from Mount Holyoke College, studying chemistry in Germany seemed like a great way to combine my two majors. So, I picked up and moved to Hamburg, Germany, where I received my M.Sc in Chemistry in 2011 from Universität Hamburg.

While in Hamburg, I had a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which covered both my tuition and living expenses. In Hamburg, I worked in the group of Prof. Dr. Alf Mews and studied optical properties of semiconductor-metal hybrid nanostructures.

Deciding to take a turn towards computational and theoretical chemistry, I moved to Heidelberg and started my Ph.D. at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg in the group of Prof. Dr. Andreas Dreuw.

Currently, I am researching excited state proton transfer in several organic systems, such as pigment yellow 101. As you can see, I've jumped around a lot in my research. However, Mount Holyoke has prepared me to adapt to different fields and to seek out interesting experiences and ideas, even if they are new to me.

In addition, learning chemistry in the context of a liberal arts education has made me more aware of how chemistry impacts the larger community. It has also kindled my interest in how culture impacts the way we think about science.