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Surprising Behavior

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At best, behavior is a tricky topic of study. Physicist and author Stephen Hawking said, “The universe does not behave according to our pre-conceived ideas. It continues to surprise us.”

So Leah Granger can expect some surprises in her future. Majoring in chemical engineering and mathematics, the Clarkson junior is observing molecular behavior and she’s using dynamic simulations to make predictions.

“A lot of the chemicals we’re researching are expensive or potentially dangerous,” she says, “but, at Clarkson, we’re using computer modeling to see how they behave under various conditions.”

Granger’s also seeing how people behave in Clarkson STEP, the Science Technology Entry Program.

“We encourage middle- and high-school students to pursue their interests in math and science,” she says. As a mentor, she’s getting valuable experience working with younger students. “If I decide to go into education, this will be a huge help.”

It’s these opportunities that helped Granger choose Clarkson.

“I wanted to develop the engineer's problem-solving mindset,” she says, “and I wanted to spend my college years in an academically focused community that encourages learning beyond the classroom.  For me, a true education requires active learning and Clarkson is known for that.”

Still, she was surprised—again—by behavior. This time, it was the behavior of her professors and fellow students on campus.

“People get to know each other here,” she says, “I didn’t expect that. I’m from Georgia, where Southern hospitality is taken seriously. If you visit, you get a warm welcome. I thought going to college in the Northeast would be really different. And it is, in some ways, but at Clarkson I’ve been able to get to know my classmates and professors like I know my neighbors back home.”

Granger says this has made a huge difference in her academic career. “Because my professors know what interests me, they know the goals I’m aiming for. That’s opened a lot of doors. I’ve had some really great opportunities to further my work through independent study and research projects.”

Now, no matter what surprises come her way, Clarkson has given her better tools for understanding them and making the most of each one.

Leah Granger med.jpg

Leah Granger '16