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What is Chemistry?

Think you know what you’re made of? Look closely — very close — and you’ll begin to see that it’s more than meets the eye. Chemistry is the science of understanding these building blocks. It spans all aspects of our lives, from our health and nutrition to the management of an environmentally sustainable world. You’ll study the composition and properties of matter, how it reacts and transforms, and how we can use those changes to create new substances.

Jake Blackner

Student Profile - Jake Blackner

Like many students in their first-year of university, Jake Blackner wasn’t sure what he wanted to study when he came to UWinnipeg. One year and a couple of organic chemistry classes later, he discovered a subject he has a true passion for.

Blackner says the support he received from faculty members reinforced his decision to study chemistry.

“After choosing to become more engaged in the Department of Chemistry, mentorship from professors dramatically influenced my dedication to study the subject,” he said.

One of the most influential parts of Blackner’s undergraduate degree has been the opportunity to engage in academic research and present his work at various national and international conferences.

A recent highlight was attending the Canadian Society for Chemistry Conference in Toronto, where he was invited to give a presentation on his research in boronic catalysis.

“I was able to present my own work, as well as attend lectures by various distinguished professors from across Canada,” he said.

Taking part in these kinds of conferences has also helped him realize the importance and wide-ranging applications of organic chemistry research.

On campus, Blackner is a regular competitor in the Randy Kobes Undergraduate Poster Contest and is a member of the Chemistry Students’ Association.

“These experiences have influenced me to pursue a career in chemistry,” he said.

Once he finishes his Bachelor of Science, Blackner plans on going to graduate school where he can further develop his interests in research and teaching.

Make an impact

Chemists play a role in dealing with many challenges we face, including pollution, fresh water scarcity, food production, and vaccine and drug development. A biochemist may devote their life to discovering cancer treatments with decreased side effects, while an environmental chemist could research ways to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that enter our lakes. At the molecular level, the potential for meaningful discoveries is endless.

Career opportunities

  • Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Government and hospital laboratories
  • Forensics
  • Agriculture
  • Mining, forestry, and fisheries

UWinnipeg faculty, students, and alumni are leaving their mark in the field of chemistry. Read their stories:

UWinnipeg student scatters neutrons in France

Defeating cancer through research

UWinnipeg chemistry student presents in Turkey

View Chemistry Factsheet [PDF]  |  See Academic Calendar Information [PDF] | Visit Department Website

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