Photo by Matt D'Annunzio
Editor's Note: The Reed community suffered a terrible blow in May when Mark was killed in a traffic collision just nine days after he graduated. He was an exceptional student who was nominated for this feature by many professors who were impressed by his scholarship and devotion to others. Ride in peace, Mark.
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the Philippines
Adviser: Prof. Sarah Kliegman ’02 [chemistry 2014–]
Thesis: The Role of Cobalt, Rhodium, and Iridium Bis(imino)pyridine Catalysts in Degrading Chlorinated Ethylenes
What it’s about: Synthesizing certain types of organometallic catalysts to assist in degrading certain types of environmental pollutants.
What it’s really about: Lab. Lots and lots of time in lab.
Who I was when I got to Reed: An impressionable, idealistic, and somewhat naive boy determined to be his own person and find his place in the world.
A concept that blew my mind: Atoms never die but are endlessly recycled and recombined into different elements that make up the fabric of the universe. Every being, every thing was birthed in an instantaneous explosion at the beginning of time and forged over billions of years, a never-ending cycle of energy remaking itself endlessly through space and time. But the real question, in the words of Marcus Chown, is: “Now, why should the universe be constructed in such a way that atoms acquire the ability to be curious about themselves? That, surely, is one of the great unexplained puzzles of science.”
Outside the Classroom: Fire dancing with Weapons of Mass Distraction. Managed the Bike Co-op. Learned to be a bike mechanic. House adviser in Anna Mann. Sang with the Herodotones. Paideia czar. SEEDS intern.
How Reed changed me: My cultural values taught me to listen before speaking, and weigh the pros and cons of every side, often to the point of not participating from uncertainty. It’s important for people who historically have not been heard to speak up. Diversity of thought and opinion are what a conference should thrive on. Initially I found it difficult to participate in conference, even though I was overflowing with ideas. At some point, you have to decide what you stand for and what you believe in. Finding my place on that spectrum has been one of the most important things I’ve done at Reed.
Financial aid: Classes at state and community colleges before I got here made me realize what a gift a Reed education is. Having attended this institution on financial aid, I wanted to give back to the community and leave things better than I found them
Word to prospies: Reed is challenging, difficult, and will make you fight for your education, and for your voice in the student body. But it also can be an incredibly fulfilling experience and teach you things you had never even thought to consider before. You’re given a chance here—if you take it and run with it, Reed can be the most fulfilling intellectual endeavor you’ll ever have a shot at.