Xavierite, Holly Honore, Featured in 2021s Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research

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Quarterly, the Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research selects students to be featured in their journal’s publication. This year celebrating their 20th anniversary, the Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research selected Xavierite Holly Honore, highlighting her undergraduate research at Xavier University. 

As a senior Chemistry major, Honore was thrilled to learn of her journal feature. “To be honest, it was a great honor to have been nominated and have them reach out asking if I wanted to be featured. My parents were also super excited and proud. I really appreciate the Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research for including me,” said Honore. 

Since 2020, Honore has worked with her mentor Dr. Florastina Payton-Stewart, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs at Xavier. Dr. Payton-Stewart’s research laboratory focuses on designing and synthesizing anti-cancer agents through organic/medicinal chemistry, which was the focal point of the research project. Honore plans to continue her current research path while also exploring another research interest near and dear to her heart- cosmetic chemistry. 

It was Honore’s love of cosmetics that sparked her initial interest in science and research. She says her fascination with makeup artistry originated with YouTube tutorials but continued to evolve throughout her teenage years as she learned how to apply makeup. As Honore’s love of makeup continued to flourish, she began seeking out a deeper, scientific understanding of cosmetics. She knew there was much more behind the creation of makeup and pigments, such as the chemical processes used to formulate cosmetic products.

After talking with mentors about my interests, I learned that there are scientists in the cosmetics industry—cosmetic chemists—who develop all kinds of personal care products—from makeup to skincare to haircare. I instantly knew that I wanted to be a part of this industry, and I’m exploring graduate school programs that offer cosmetic science,” she said.

After reflecting on her college experience, Honore shared what she loves most about Xavier: the supportive and community-oriented atmosphere of the campus and the great opportunities afforded to students. Honore is a participant of Xavier’s Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (XULA BUILD) program, Project Pathways. 

A part of the BUILD Program, Project Pathways works to increase diversity in the biomedical research workforce and expose undergraduate students to research opportunities, mentorships, and graduate programs. Honore credits Project Pathways for preparing her for success through its wide range of available resources and mentorships, including XULA BUILD’s accommodating team. Honore shares she also valued the strong student-teacher relationships she was able to develop during her time in Project Pathways.

“The BUILD mentors were always more than willing to help us, whether it was getting us in touch with programs we were interested in, application processes, or summer research opportunities,” she said. Dr. Payton-Stewart is Honore’s mentor in Project Pathways.

A piece of advice Honore shares with future Xavierites: don't be afraid to seek out new opportunities. 

Reach out to your professors and ask about research opportunities! I encourage students to utilize the Center for Undergraduate Research and Graduate Opportunity (CURGO) office at Xavier,” she said. “CURGO is great to help students not only find research opportunities, but learn information about resources and other programs that fit with their interests.”