Evan Perez - PostDoctoral Fellow in Armentrout Group
Evan Perez grew up in Pittsburg, PA and did his undergrad at Duquesne University, BS Chemistry ‘16. He then went on to grad school at Yale University, PhD ’22 with Prof. Mark Johnson and is now a potdoc here at the U, in the Armentrout group.
What motivates and inspires you?
I would say that the number one motivating force in my life is solving problems with a team. This is why I have stayed on the academic track and would like the freedom to explore new scientific questions with students. My inspiration comes from the people around me that are very talented scientists and more specifically, have mentored me along the way. It makes me want to give back to the community.
What interests you most about your research?
I believe that having the experimental ability to determine the minimum energy required to break a chemical bond is a very powerful and specific technique. This type of fundamental research is key to the basic understanding that we need in chemistry.
What do you wish you had known when you first came to Utah?
I am not sure I wish I knew anything because I have enjoyed learning about the state with no bias, but I have been really blown away by the scenery and everything that comes with that nature-wise. Being an eastern US kid, the mountains are a different animal out here.
Your favorite University of Utah experience
As a postdoc it can be hard to get involved with the school as much as grad school or undergrad, but I have been to a football game and I love sports so having a real athletic program to root for has been great.
What research topics being explored in the world interest you the most?
I am a spectroscopists at heart so anything that has to do with matter interacting with light in some way.
What do you do for fun outside the lab? How do you handle stress?
I probably have too many hobbies to list but I am a pretty serious golfer and I have joined a bowling league with my partner. Sports are a great outlet for me as it allows me to remain competitive and engage my brain in a way that is not scientific. Burn out is real and everyone can go through it so my hobbies are quite important.
What advice do you have for prospective postdocs?
I would say that just like grad school, you need to get to know your new advisor and also learn how to work effectively with them in order to get the most out of the opportunity. Meeting a professor and asking about a postdoc in person at a conference can be a great way to get a head start.
What is the most significant difference between life as a grad student and a postdoc researcher?
I am not the best person to ask about this because my PhD advisor and postdoc mentor are very different PI’s. However, I would assume that as a postdoc in most groups have more of a leadership role than in grad school. For me, it has been a learning process albeit a pretty seamless transition.
What do you plan to do after your postdoc?
I intend to look for a tenure track professorship at a high level research institution in order to fulfill my increasing desire to both mentor and lead cutting edge scientific research