James Lawton II

Where did you transfer from?

Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MCTC)

Why did you want to come to the University of Minnesota?

For personal growth—the University of Minnesota was the one school that made me question my academic abilities and whether I belonged. I needed to go here. I had to face my fear head on or else I would have always felt I had taken the easier path.

What are you researching?

I've been working on developing a method that allows users to take real-time measurements of the dissolved CO2 levels in bacteria isolate inoculations using membrane inlet mass spectrometry (MIMS). Up till now, no one has developed a MIMS method for this purpose. Once completed, it will provide the lab an alternative method for determining high-precision real-time measurements of the CO2 levels in lake water samples from around the state.

What have you gotten out of this experience?

It's given me the opportunity to learn and grow within a branch of science I originally knew nothing about. I've adapted well in the world of limnology, more so then I would have ever expected. It has given me a lot to think about regarding my future interests. Once I graduate I'll be looking for work in Antarctica doing the same kind of research I'm currently conducting in Jim Cotner’s Lab.

What are your interests outside of school?

I'm an avid runner. Running is the only thing that keeps me calm and clear-headed. Some of my best ideas came mid-run. I'm also deeply fascinated in the affairs of future man-missioned endeavors to Mars. I'm currently trying to get involved with Mars One.

Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?

I was the President of the Science Club at MCTC for two years.

What are your plans for the future?

Right before I graduate I'll be initiating open lines of communication with various bio-based companies from around the world. There is no location I wouldn't consider. I’ve also been doing research on the anti-microbial properties of Kombucha, which is a carbonated pro-biotic drink. My hope is that I'll establish industry contacts while presenting my poster on this research at upcoming conference events, like the Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium at Augsburg College and the American Society of Microbiology General Meeting in Denver. 

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