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Alfred Dei-Ampeh

VIDEO: The science of mentoring at Augustana

For the past two years at Augustana, Alfred Dei-Ampeh ’19 has been involved in scientific research to develop alternative sources of energy, the kind that could reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. In the process, he built an impressive résumé of laboratory skills, had a first-hand look at what scientists really do, and has already experienced the deeper rewards of science that can change the world.

And all of it, he said, was possible because of the close relationships with faculty at Augustana.

“When I speak to some of my friends at other colleges, they tend to work with graduate students,” he said, “not their professors, and not a professional in the field like Dr. (Pamela) Trotter. It's been extremely beneficial to me.”

Dr. Pamela Trotter, professor of chemistry, has been an important mentor for Dei-Ampeh, by design. She came to Augustana looking for a culture where she could be involved with her students, a culture she did not find when she joined a big research university—the University of Texas at Austin—after graduating from Harvard with her Ph.D.

This kind of experience… working with a faculty member in a research laboratory, is something special about Augustana. It’s what we’re about. 

Dr. Pamela Trotter

“This kind of experience, for Alfred, working with a faculty member in a research laboratory, is something special about Augustana,” she said. “It’s what we’re about.”

Now that Dei-Ampeh has graduated, on his way to become a research physician, he will see the results of a different kind of work: while at Augustana, he had joined Dr. Trotter in serving as a mentor for another student taking over his lab project.

Elizabeth Zehner '21 is the new lab apprentice, with plans for graduate school and a career in pharmaceutical research. “This opportunity for me, getting to do research as a sophomore, is really helping me,” she said. “Getting better technique, and learning more about all the applications of not only chemistry, but biochemistry, as well.”

As for Dei-Ampeh, he looks forward to using the skills he learned in the Augustana labs—both research and mentoring.

“My experience here will always be with me, and shape what I do tomorrow," he said. “I would love to become a mentor to other students, because of what I learned from being mentored in my research here at Augustana.”

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