Behind the Scenes

Our weekly newsletter is produced with help from Clara Marker, a third year Chemistry major at Lawrence University. She’s smart, funny and active on her campus, and another life-not-yet-so-long learner who enjoys challenging herself. Meet Clara!

How was remote learning? How the heck do you complete chemistry labs at home? Up & down. I have strong relationships with my professors and knew I’d miss those connections, but they were very supportive. We did modified labs, we were sent data sets and then analyzed them. I enjoy lab work and really miss it!

Photo Credit: Submitted by Clara Marker
What’s this we hear about you winning an academic award? I did, the Undergraduate Award for Analytical Chemistry. My analytical chemistry classes were difficult and while on campus last fall, it wouldn’t be unusual to spend 8 hours a week in lab as my experiments did not always go well. But I loved the challenge, I enjoyed using Excel and problem solving. Luckily my professor valued digging in and learning over getting to the right answer! They were my favorite classes and the award validated my major choice.

Doing lay out work for an e-newsletter seems like a different skill set than doing science. What made you take the job? Technology and chemistry overlap because both involve problem solving and intuition. Technology has always been a part of my life, so I’m not afraid to jump in and figure things out. My parents raised me to get involved and help out where I can. I also found my involvement with MMFS was a way to keep connected to my home town and my parents, as my mother is on the Board. But there’s a reason I am a STEM major and not a humanities major, I don’t consider myself ‘crafty’ at all!

Photo Credit: Submitted by Clara Marker 
As a society we’re facing deep divisions over race and opportunities, and having conversations about these issues that are long over-due. As a young person and a person of color, any thoughts you’d want to share?I faced more difficulties as I grew up, with some kids in high school making subtle and not-so-subtle efforts to point out our differences. One of the benefits of being at Lawrence University is finding others like me, where we don’t have to constantly talk about struggles, inequities, history or identity – we have a connection and don’t have to have those conversations because I know they understand. Our school system did a horrible job of educating us about American history. Many believe that because slavery ended in the 1700’s, racism doesn’t exist. Obviously that is not true. There was tremendous mistreatment of Asians during the building of our country and of railroads. Even today as Asian Americans we face backlash because of the pandemic. We need to have conversations about why our society has a pattern of police brutality against black people. Why people of color often don’t feel welcome in certain areas of our cities, and about the lack of opportunities. And not just conversations but change. When I walk down a street I don’t feel I am at risk of being murdered, but I do feel discrimination as a person of color.

Photo Credit: Submitted by Clara Marker

As an organization we’ve identified the restorative role of nature and our responsibility to protect it. What role has nature played in your life? It is very important. My parents have passed on their love of being in nature, and made sure my sister and I participated in outdoor experiences. I think those experiences helped make me a person who likes challenges. On a canoe trip with YMCA Camp Menogyn, I chose to portage an 80 pound canoe by myself for 2 miles. It was important to me to do this, and be successful, but it was definitely a challenge as I am only 5’1”. I had to really push, but knowing the canoe was more than half my weight and I did it – what can’t I do?!

Photo Credit: Submitted by Clara Marker
Odd food – I am a picky eater, and I don’t enjoy cooking. I do like eating grapes and blue cheese together
Most irritating characteristic of your father – It’s not irritating but he has a problem with too many jade plants! He had more than 21, although he gave some away recently. Anyone need a jade plant?
Book you are reading – Silent Spring by Rachel Carlson
Any podcasts to recommend – The Magnus Archives, a ‘horror’ podcast

Photo Credit: Submitted by Clara Marker