What made you decide to get your degree in science/chemistry? Who was your mentor?
I met a couple of chemistry professors from a local university when they came and gave lectures to my high school class.
My mother was a chemist, and my dad a chemical engineer. Both shared the excitement of chemistry and encouraged me in math and science.
When confronted with a post card on which I had to make the awful choice among English, philisophy, and the sciences, I thought of the beautiful blue color of copper sulfate from high school labs, and wrote, Chemistry. thought it would be wonderful to spend my life among such beautry. That's the truth!
An artist apparently agrees! See C&EN http://pubs.acs.org/isubscribe/journals/cen/87/i01/html/8701sci2.html!
I was always good at math and science in school, but it wasn't until my chemistry class as a sophomore in high school that I decided on which degree I would pursue. The teacher was outstanding, and she really gave me an opportunity to see what a beautiful subject chemistry is. We did a lot of Socratic discussions and some really fun labs, including an unknowns unit where we got to do real problem solving. Perhaps the most influential thing that I did was an independent project on laboratory safety. It started as a demonstration of the value of using eye protection using Styrofoam manequin heads, and led to my work to organize the chemical stockroom into compatible groups.
After that year of honors chemistry, I was hooked, and never came close to reconsidering my major.
I can pretty much remember as a child, I was always fascinated with insects, crystals, and mixing things together. Chemistry seemed to come naturally out of that. Nobody in my family was from the scientific background, so I really didn't have any sort of formal mentor.
I've been a scientist since birth and new I would go into the sciences in elementary school. In high school, chemistry and physics caught my attention, so I went into physical chemistry.
During my High School days, my teacher used to produce chlorine gas in lab by mixing HCl and H2SO4. Using the cylinder filled with HCl gas we used to do the confirmative test like litmus etc. Later we also used to produce SO2 gas in lab. I was very curious to know why it turns the litmus color blue to red . My teacher told me that when you grow up, you have to do this by yourself. This curiosity lead me till the college days. But in college, my own practical experiments just boosted my desire like anything and I almost blasted to go for chemistry.
My choice in the field of chemistry was really quite capricious to tell the truth...in high school I always had an intense love for the sciences and mathematics and never quite knew how I would incorporate these loves into an efficacious major. The joys of dimensional analysis (stoichiometry), unknown powders, titration, centripetal motion, and various other interesting things commited me to this major. Currently I have synergetically linked my love of mathematics and chemistry through the wild world of quantum mechanics!!! I've never really had a mentor in chemistry because my parents and family never had a strong background in the sciences...but if I were to assign a mentor I would have to go with my enthusiastic high school chemistry and physics teacher, Dr. Farrell.
I was born in the 80's, so "Bill Nye the Science Guy" is what started it all. Then great science teacher through my education kept that momentum going.