Devin Makey ‘20 Finds Career Path through Research Posted on February 22nd, 2021 by

Alumnus Devin Makey’s ‘20 passion for research began in the chemistry lab at Gustavus. As a first year student, Makey had initially planned to go into the medical field. But after shadowing doctors and doing volunteer work he realized his interest was in the science behind human health. Makey is currently pursuing a PhD in analytical chemistry at the University of Michigan.


Reflecting on his experiences, Makey encourages students to explore different career paths to find your passion. He advises students not to be discouraged by setbacks or rejection. After not being accepted into the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program at Gustavus, Makey persisted in finding research opportunities by reaching out to professors on-campus. He was always optimistic, stating, “Even though I didn’t get the FYRE, there’s still plenty of professors that are willing to work with students.” 


Makey did on-campus lab research with Dr. Dwight Stoll all four years at Gustavus. For this research he is published as a co-author in “Mobile Phase Buffers in Liquid Chromatography (LC): Effect of Buffer Preparation Method on Retention Repeatability.” The summer after his junior year, Makey traveled to Belgium for an internship focused on chromatography (separating chemicals in complex mixtures). For this research, he is a published author of Journal of Chromatography A. After graduation from Gustavus, Makey worked as an analytical R&D intern at Merck, a pharmaceutical company. 


Makey offers advice to future research students, “Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. The worst that can happen is they say no. If you’re interested in working for someone or if you’re interested in an internship, just apply and keep an open mind.” 


While at Gustavus, Makey was honored with  the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Undergraduate Award. He was also involved in the Chemistry Club, Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and Gustavus Jazz Ensemble


During his first year at the University of Michigan, Makey was published in another article on chromatography. His first year will aid him in deciding his research focus for the remainder of his PhD. After earning his doctorate, Makey aims to work for a pharmaceutical company in developing drugs and vaccines. He also plans to conduct post-doctoral research, possibly going back to Belgium with professionals he connected with in his previous research experience. 



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