Students You Should Know: Chelsea Meier

Chelsea Meier, a senior chemistry and biology double major, is leaving quite a legacy at UNI.

Meier, current president of UNI's Student Affliates of the American Chemical Society, referred to on campus as ACS, secured a grant in 2011 from the national American Chemical Society to expand the chemistry experiment-based Halloween House that students hosted for the community. ACS created four Halloween-themed rooms, enabling 1,000 area children to experience the "magic" of chemistry. This past fall, ACS teamed up with the physics club and the Delta Iota chapter of Tri-Beta (of which Meier also is president) to craft eight themed rooms and reach 1,500 youth.

Chelsea Meier
Meier traveled overseas to the Dominican Republic and Haiti to provide impoverished patients medical care.

Meier also established a relationship with local TV station KWWL, and ACS now has an open invitation to perform chemistry demonstrations on-air during the morning show. She says the group has been able to "promote the knowledge of how awesome chemistry is" to northeast Iowa -- even if it means having to show up at the station at 5:30 a.m. to prepare.

Meier also was instrumental in establishing ACS's "MarCHEMadness," an annual competition in which faculty, staff and students compete in chemistry-related games and contests.

Due in large part to their outreach efforts, ACS received the highly coveted and prestigious "Outstanding Chapter Award" for the 2011-12 academic year, presented at the recent American Chemical Society national conference in New Orleans.

It's easy to see Meier's impact on UNI and the chemistry department, but she's also left a mark overseas. Three times she's traveled to the Dominican Republic and Haiti with International Service Learning, an organization devoted to providing medical experience to pre-med students while also affording impoverished patients medical care.

Meier acquired invaluable hands-on experience under the oversight of medical professionals working in makeshift treatment facilities, ranging from taking a patient's family and medical history to performing exams similar to annual check-ups. She also was able to spend time in hospitals, helping deliver a baby, observing C-sections and volunteering in a pre-natal clinic.

Meier's favorite experience was in the emergency room, which is no surprise since that's where she plans to work after medical school, either here in the states or abroad.

Melisa Cherney, assistant professor of biochemistry and a faculty adviser to ACS, describes Chelsea as "one of the most motivated and visionary people I know. She has big ideas and knows how to make them happen."

UNI and its chemistry department have been good to Meier -- and her family. Her parents, Tom and Cathy Meier, are both UNI grads, and Cathy also was a chemistry/biology double major. Interestingly, Chelsea's younger sister, Emily, is also a Panther and a biochemistry and biology double major, though she plans to study veterinary medicine.

Science is Meier's passion, and she's thrilled to share this with people everywhere, whether at UNI, in the local community or across the world.

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