Loyola University Chicago

Weekend of Excellence

Victor Valencia

PHOTO: Natalie Battaglia Biochemistry major Victor Valencia works in the lab at Flanner Hall. Valencia, who will start medical school this year, is conducting research on how various molecules react with metal catalysts—a project his older brother worked on as well.

College of Arts & Sciences

Victor Valencia

Major: Biochemistry  •  Class:  2016  • Hometown: Mokena, IL

What will you be doing at this year’s Weekend of Excellence?
I will be giving a presentation on how our understanding of fundamental science can be used to develop the next generation of catalytic systems, ultimately improving the environment, society, and the human condition. In particular, my presentation will focus predominantly on the bond geometry and strength between water and platinum at the atomic level.

What’s your favorite Loyola memory?
I’d have to say tutoring for the American Chemical Society. This experience has given me the chance to strengthen my relationship with others by working with people on an individual basis. Through this experience, I am fortunate to have developed enduring friendships with many individuals whom I would not have met otherwise.

Tell us a little about your research.
I conduct research for the department of chemistry and biochemistry, studying various kinetic and thermodynamic properties of metal catalysts. I got involved through my older brother and focused my efforts on the projects he originally started. I hope this research can be used to develop efficient and low-cost catalyst alternatives that can improve the environment.

How has your time here helped shape you as a person?
Interacting directly with such a diverse community has enabled me to challenge my own beliefs and see the world through many unique perspectives. I have become a more dynamic and malleable person through my interaction with people of different cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. I have learned to work in partnership with others, striving toward a common goal of seeking truth in an ethical and responsible manner.

And finally, what do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
My time at Loyola has made me realize I want to serve those in need. So in 10 years, I hope to making a difference in the lives of other people through a career in medicine. I will begin my journey at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine later this year.