May 13, 2016Vol. 46, Issue 6

Compound Discovery

Lindsay Quigley shines as academic and athletic powerhouse

Whether on the volleyball court or in the chemistry lab, graduating senior Lindsay Quigley has always “killed” it.

As a youth growing up in Paradise, Quigley spent her summers sharpening her skills at Chico State volleyball camps and exploring campus. So in 2011, when the coaches offered her a scholarship to play on the team, it didn’t take her long to accept.

Quigley’s talents in the classroom were quickly noticed: Despite a hectic schedule of volleyball practice and games on the road, the double major in chemistry and biochemistry was twice selected to participate in the campus’s Chemistry Summer Research Institute (CSRI), a 10-week paid fellowship that pairs talented students with department faculty to work on real-world projects.

During the 2015 CSRI, Quigley led a team of two other students to develop five new undocumented compounds.

“We start with [a compound] that’s pretty unstable—you can’t even have it out in the air,” she explained. “You do a reaction to it and it makes it more stable, and from there you can start making different ones. So we made three compounds off of that one, and I was seeing if there was more that we could make.”

The team’s efforts led to the expansion of a three-semester integrated lab for chemistry majors, a move that chemistry professor Erik Wasinger calls “incredibly helpful.”

“We couldn’t have expanded the lab without what she developed,” Wasinger said.

She posted the highest career and single-season kill percentage (measured by the number of attacks resulting in a point) in Chico State history, becoming the eighth player in Wildcat history to post more than 1,000 kills.

She posted the highest career and single-season kill percentage (measured by the number of attacks resulting in a point) in Chico State history, becoming the eighth player in Wildcat history to post more than 1,000 kills.

Over her five years here—she took on a minor in mathematics as well—Quigley has been recognized with numerous academic and campus awards, including the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s Academic All-District honors for two straight years and the Richard Dahl Scholar Athlete award in 2015. That same year, she was also recognized with the Rawlins Merit Award, one of the University’s highest student honors.

Athletically, she shined, too. She posted the highest career and single-season kill percentage (measured by the number of attacks resulting in a point) in Chico State history, becoming the eighth player in Wildcat history to post more than 1,000 kills.  

Though she didn’t play this academic year, one game in particular stands out—her last at home against San Francisco State.

“They had a senior on their team and she was playing with a broken finger,” Quigley recalled. “And both sides really wanted to win. I remember the last point . . . I got a block and we won, and I was so excited. And everyone was running out and it was insane.”

Somehow, between excelling in two science majors and a starring on a collegiate athletic team, she found time to give back. As a two-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, she participated in service activities including river cleanups, food and shoe drives, and—the highlight—presenting a teenager battling a life-threatening disease with a check for $5,000 to start a college fund with Make-A-Wish of Northeastern California and Northern Nevada.

With plans to pursue her master’s in bioengineering at the University of South Florida in the fall, Quigley will spend her summer as an intern at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. testing the properties of new beers such as chili chocolate. “I like Sierra Nevada so I’m okay with that,” she smiled.

While she admits she’s eager to explore life outside of Butte County, Quigley says her experience here was second to none, especially thanks to supportive faculty like Wasinger and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Chair Randy Miller.

“We get a lot of opportunities that people at larger schools don’t get—the research we’re doing is basically the equivalent of a grad program,” she said. “Every professor knows your name in the chemistry department. So it definitely helps you. Plus you get hands-on help and smaller class sizes… 

“I think it’s a great idea to come here, especially in the sciences. At bigger universities you’re a number in a classroom.”

Sarah Langford can be reached at sglangford@csuchico.edu.

Photo of Chico State grads

126th Commencement

Four days of commencement ceremonies begin Wednesday, May 18. Search #Chico2016 on social media for a live chronicle of events.  See schedule.

Senior Sendoff

A Super Sendoff

The Alumni Association honored the Class of 2016 with a BBQ and fun activities to wish them a fond farewell. Watch Video.

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