Ally Watrous

  • Class

    Class of 2025
  • Program

    B.S. in Chemistry, B.A. in Physics, German; minors in French, Math ( College of Liberal Arts )
  • Hometown

    Lexington, KY (South)
  • Involvement

    Service and Community Engagement
  • Social Media

  • About

    Ally Watrous is pursing a B.S. in Chemistry, and a B.A. in Physics and German with minors in Math and French. She has used her skills in German while on a Study Abroad internship where she worked at the Institute of Science and Technology in Austria. At UM, she is involved in computational chemistry and computational astrochemistry research. Ally has also contributed to a number of published research articles.

Get to Know Ally Watrous

Why did you choose to attend UM?

I chose to attend UM because of the research opportunities for undergraduate students including freshman! When I visited the University and got a chance to talk with the current students and professors. I could tell how many opportunities there were for undergraduate students and how much the students loved being here.

When and how did you choose your major(s)/minor(s)?

Coming to UM I thought that I wanted to be a Chemistry major with minors in Math and French. I knew I wanted to study Chemistry because I loved the idea of chemistry research and I had been taking French since 6th grade and I wanted to continue. The chemistry department offers emphasis for the B.S. Chemistry major so I decided to add an emphasis in chemical physics. I quickly realized that a lot of what I loved about Chemistry overlaps with Physics, and I decided to also pursue a Physics degree to fully explore my interests. The summer before my freshman year, I was accepted into the German intensive summer program so I thought I would also minor in German. After taking German classes for a few semesters, I decided that I wanted to keep taking classes and became a B.A. German major as well.

What would you tell a high school student about your major?

Being a Physics major involves a lot more than the physics you might see in high school. Physics expands into quantum mechanics, astrophysics, acoustics, electronics, and other areas. It is so multifaceted that there is something for everyone. If you are at all interested in Physics, take a few classes, and see which you like best and go from there!

Can you tell me about a professor or a class you’ve taken that has had the most impact on you?

Dr. Fortenberry is my research advisor and has always been incredibly supportive. Both through research opportunities and by supporting what I want to do in the future. Anyone thinking about undergraduate research should get involved!

What has been one of your most memorable or enjoyable moments at UM?

I loved being able to help with Spooky Physics Night the past two years which is a Halloween themed demo show that the Physics Department puts on every year for the community. It is so much fun to help put together the demos and see the department come together to put on the show each year.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?

After graduation I hope to continue to graduate school for a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics. I want to go into a career in Computational Chemistry research, but a lot of the time the research I am interested in crosses into Physics, so I want to make sure I have a strong foundation.

Apart from school, how do you spend your time in Oxford? What are your hobbies, favorite places to go, etc.?

There are a lot of coffee shops around town that are fun to study at! I also love going to the local farmers market on Tuesdays!

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