From the classroom to real-life research

Our students do really well in grad school because they have so much hands-on experience.

“Chico is a great town to learn how to be a great student,” says Chico native Kyle Almlie.

Kyle thrived as a chemistry major—in large part because of the ways his close-knit department supports student success. The coursework was challenging but, he says, incredibly rewarding.

“One of my most valuable times at Chico State was actually my toughest year as a student,” he explains. “Chemistry majors take a year of two lecture courses and one lab course that is dubbed ‘The Trifecta.’ Study groups became crucial, and we became close friends, spending long nights in the library studying during the week or relaxing at a BBQ on the weekends. These friends not only helped me survive college, but also made a tough year into a great experience.”

Kyle also spent summers in the chem lab. He was awarded Chemistry Summer Research Institute (CSRI) fellowships in 2010 and 2011. The institute allows students, faculty, and industry leaders to research problems with real-life implications.

Professor Lisa Ott worked with Kyle in developing a sustainable way to make fuel from agricultural waste. “It’s so much fun to introduce students to the world of research,” says Ott. “I love seeing them grow into independent researchers and take ownership of their projects.” 

“Our students are fabulous,” she adds. “It’s been fantastic watching them really bloom during the course of their careers. They start out timid—they don’t want to screw up or do anything without explicit direction. At the end, they are designing their own experiments and taking instruments apart to fix them. Our students do really well in grad school because they have so much hands-on experience.”

“CSRI is a vital program for chemistry majors,” adds Kyle. “Being able to confidently work in a lab environment translates into a huge advantage for the student at CSU, Chico, and further on in their careers.”

It paid off for him. He’s now working on a PhD in analytical chemistry at Oregon State University.

Students in every college at Chico State have opportunities to work closely with faculty on real-life research and projects—whether it’s applying the methods of organic dairy farming or helping to solve crimes by identifying human remains.

Learn more about faculty/student research partnerships in natural sciences. 

Alum Kyle Almlie loved the time he spent in CSU, Chico’s chemistry labs.
Alum Kyle Almlie loved the time he spent in CSU, Chico’s chemistry labs.