Amazing Students Profiles

Richard Weimar

Richard Weimar

Richard Weimar, a chemistry major graduating in May, absorbs himself in his academic work—as evidenced by his scholarly honors—but his interests in life go far beyond the classroom.


Thomson, Ga.

High School:


Degree objective:

A.C.S. certified B.S. in chemistry (BSChem)

Expected graduation:

May 2013

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Easily the most interesting experience I’ve had as a UGA student has been as an undergraduate researcher in Tina Salguero’s laboratory in the chemistry department. My experience there afforded me the opportunity to present my work at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia last August.

I’ve also been given the opportunity to participate in two multidisciplinary, collaborative projects: The Oplontis Project (collaborating with assistant professor of art Mark Abbe and researchers at the University of Texas, Austin) and the Orpheus Relief Project (collaborating with Abbe and the Georgia Museum of Art). My work included executing the first-ever scientific materials analyses of ancient sculptures from Pompeii and Aphrodisias, Turkey, during which we discovered the only known use of a rare, brilliant blue pigment named lapis lazuli, in all of ancient Roman architecture.

I’ve also enjoyed singing with the Men’s Glee Club under the direction of Daniel Bara.

During my tenure at UGA, I’ve been recognized as a Presidential Scholar in spring and fall 2012, Dean’s List Scholar in summer 2012, and I’m a Presidential Scholar hopeful for this spring 2013 semester. Also, I’ve joined Delta Epsilon Iota and Golden Key academic honor societies, and, if everything goes well, will graduate cum laude this May.

Family Ties to UGA:

My aunt and sister are UGA alumni.

I chose to attend UGA because…

I originally came to UGA to pursue a recreation and leisure studies degree. After a semester, though, I decided to change direction and pursue my love of the sciences, so I changed my major to chemistry. It suits me.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

I adore the old parts of campus. The enormous hardwoods, the sound of the birds singing in the North Campus quad early in the morning, the ecology building pond (especially when the bluegrass trio is there!) … they are so lovely to me. The State Botanical Garden is a favorite location of mine for a nice walk with a friend or a run through the woods.

I had the opportunity to watch a football game last fall from a SkySuite; that was definitely a superb on-campus experience.

But the avid learner and lover of ideas in me compels me to sit in on lectures, work in the lab, attend concerts and engage others in the great exchange of ideas.

When I have free time, I like…

I really enjoy being with my best friend and wife of three years. I find a lot of fulfillment in spending time with her and truly seeing the finer things in life. Additionally, I greatly enjoy growing my own food (along with my brother-in-law, and UGA Amazing Student, David Gianino). I currently have about 300 square feet in which I grow more than 60 varieties of vegetables and fruits. Throw in a mix of racquetball, cycling, singing, learning new musical instruments and playing music, and you have a pretty comprehensive picture of my free time.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

Most of my “crazy” experiences are perhaps better described as “intense”—in a good way. I finished high school at 15 and began my first year of university work. Crazy. And intense. I also was married at the age of 19. Crazy. Really intense. And awesome. Upon my graduation in May, my wife and I are moving to Portland, Ore. Crazy. And Intense. Did I mention crazy?

I suppose paragliding in the Swiss Alps would also be considered crazy. Crazy awesome.

My favorite place to study is…

The science library is always a great option when crunch time hits, due to the late hours; although, before then, I enjoy doing work at Two Story Coffeehouse on the east side of town.

My favorite professor is…

I can’t overemphasize how much I’ve enjoyed all of my instructors at UGA, especially those from the chemistry faculty. Their expertise and willing mentorship have been enormous assets to my journey here.
As far as professors go, two stand out in my mind. Tina Salguero, my research adviser, has provided many opportunities for my development as a scientist. It is her perspective of chemistry that makes her a favorite professor; she places chemistry in its context with the other sciences, humanities and society as a whole. Her view of the breadth of chemistry’s influence has been profoundly impactful in informing my joy of exploring chemistry and its articulation with apparently unrelated fields.

Geoff Smith’s course on thermodynamics was perhaps the best course I’ve taken at UGA; he really challenged me to learn far beyond what was necessary to pass the course, challenged my ideas of what is quantifiable and played a large part in cementing my desire to pursue a scientific career. And, let’s face it: Not many professors come to class wearing a frilly Boston Red Sox cooking apron.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

I would probably share it with G.K. Chesterton; I’d love to experience his wisdom, wit, genius and laugh. I’d like to think G.K. and I would become fast friends.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

In all seriousness, if I knew I could not fail, I would set out to find loving homes for children who need families. When considered their own nation of people, Orphan Nation is the seventh largest nation in the world. If I knew I could not fail, I would start with adopting a child into my own family. I’m coming to learn that every person needs a place they call home.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

If money were no matter, I would love to own and run a truly self-sustaining farm that welcomes all with good food, good music and a warm heart. There is real satisfaction to be found in good, hard work and sharing life with people.

After graduation, I plan to…

After graduation, I plan to move to Portland, Ore., to support my wife (who has been patiently supporting me while I finish my baccalaureate studies) in her pursuit of a B.S. in midwifery. I will quickly earn a B.S. in nursing and work as a nurse in the Portland area.

And we will most definitely get a dog.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

Apart from MegaLab (an intensive laboratory course), which is certainly an … experience, I will always remember that game in the SkySuite. I don’t know who was playing, but man, the (free) food and (wonderful) folks were out of the park.