Alumni Spotlight: Michael Huston ’86 (Chemistry)
Posted Apr 02, 2021
Michael Huston ’86, Senior Technical Fellow, at the Lubrizol Corporation
Otterbein’s faculty and staff engage students on an individual and personal level often becoming mentors as much as teachers.
Each of the three Chemistry faculty during my time at Otterbein made important contributions to my professional and personal development. I could share examples in the form of stories for hours (as some of today’s faculty know), but I will stick to key points here. Dr. Jenkins kindled my love of organic chemistry, chemical mechanisms, and helped me understand what fully embracing my knack for chemistry could mean and how the next step in that understanding was in graduate school. Importantly, Dr. Jenkins also showed me what great classroom instruction looked like and how to enable persons with different learning styles to grasp the same concept. Dr. Place helped me understand how chemical head knowledge relates to things in the real world far beyond the laboratory. Dr. Place lived liberal arts in teaching me, many science majors, and students from many other fields of study how chemistry and the choices we make in how we live, what we buy, and how we think about a problem matters – science and technology are linked and technology always comes with positive and negative tradeoffs. Dr. Ogle thought about who I was and where my gifts, graces, and flaws might take me and then guided me through a series of experiences that impact how I behave as a Senior Fellow of the Lubrizol Corporation today – there is no hyperbole in that statement whatsoever. Dr. Ogle took me to external lectures and symposia as hands on training of that aspect of the norms of the scientific community. He worked me through options for summer internships – one in academia and one in industry. His door and actually he and his wife’s home was always open to students who needed to talk through a bump in the life’s road or who needed a place to stay and more. And importantly, Dr. Ogle looked at each of my fellow chemistry majors and thought about who they were and what experiences they needed to take their next steps in life – customized mentoring for all, I remain amazed today because I know that he did this for student after student for decades! Dr. Jenkins provided one of my greatest academic challenges, Dr. Place made me see connections beyond textbook learning, and Dr. Ogle showed me what it is to be a professional.
The relationship Otterbein’s faculty and staff have with the students translates into professionals that understand aspects of themselves and not just understand textbook knowledge. This shows through differently in each person but in myself and my classmates I know we are more well-rounded than others we work with a degree from another institution.
What makes Otterbein unique is the mentoring and often time friendship of the faculty and staff.
At Otterbein, you will not be a “number” or a name in a lecture hall seat. You will be an individual who the faculty and staff know by name.
You will not be a “number” or a name in a lecture hall seat. You will be an individual who the faculty and staff know by name and who help you understand yourself and grow so that you are ready for what comes next in life. Your relationship with the faculty and staff will make all the difference and it is the top reason to attend Otterbein.
What advice would give a new student coming to Otterbein?
“Jump in with both feet. Make sure you study and learn all you can academically, but also make sure your Otterbein experience goes well beyond the classroom.”