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Chase Richburg selected COSAM’s 2017 Summer Graduation Marshal

Published: 08/03/2017

By: Do'Nyal Webb

Video by: Phillip Coxwell

Chemistry major Chase Richburg, the son of two Auburn University graduates, was selected to be the 2017 College of Sciences and Mathematics Summer Graduation Marshal. Richburg will graduate from the Honors College with a 3.96 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

“I always wanted to go to school at Auburn, and it's the only place I applied,” said Richburg. “I'm really an Auburn man, through and through.”

During his undergraduate career, a bike wreck led him to conduct research with Byron Farnum, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The wreck resulted in major dental repairs, and Richburg’s dentist happened to be Farnum’s wife. Richburg mentioned he was interested in conducting undergraduate research, and she connected him with her husband.

Richburg has worked with Farnum for the past year conducting research in inorganic redox storage molecules, looking for more efficient and affordable methods for capturing renewable energy.  He plans to continue research in Farnum’s lab as a graduate student at Auburn.

“If I could attend graduate school anywhere else in the country, I'd probably still want to be here at Auburn,” said Richburg. “I love the work in Dr. Farnum’s lab, and I look forward to working in his research group for the years to come.”

Research is not Richburg’s only motivation for pursuing a graduate degree.

“In high school, a substitute teacher told me to come to her desk, and she asked me what I wanted to do with my life,” said Richburg. “I told her I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but I wasn’t really sure. Any kind of science profession made sense to me.”

The substitute predicted Richburg would become a teacher. The teacher may have been correct. Richburg says he does indeed enjoy teaching and as such, during his undergraduate career, he served as a peer instructor for Honors Organic Chemistry, a private tutor for students in Fundamentals of Chemistry I and II, and as an Honors Serves tutor at Auburn High School, helping students prepare for the ACT. He also volunteered with Auburn University’s International Buddy Program, was an ambassador for Student Leadership University, and worked as a summer staffer at Pine Cove Christian Camps.

Following graduate school, Richburg hopes to combine his passions for chemistry, teaching, and helping others, and move overseas with his soon-to-be-wife and teach and serve in areas that have little access to education.

When reflecting on his undergraduate experience, Richburg said his favorite thing about Auburn is the people. 

“Auburn is a family—that's something that I heard coming in, and it's something that I can definitely attest to coming out,” said Richburg.

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