Meet graduating senior Justin Hopkins
On May 9, 2021, the College of Engineering will welcome more than 1,600 new alumni into its family. In celebration of this annual event, the College chooses several students with unique accomplishments to highlight.
Among those selected this year was Justin Hopkins, who recently won second place in the Engineering: Life Sciences category at the 2021 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. Justin is an advisee of H.C. 'Slip' Slider Associate Professor Nicholas Brunelli. Read more about Justin below!
Readers can also meet other highlighted members of the class of 2021 who combined their passions with Ohio State’s offerings to create an extraordinary education. Learn what advice they have for new and prospective Buckeyes.
Coming from a family of Ohio State grads, chemical and biomolecular engineering honors student Justin Hopkins has always felt like a Buckeye at heart. The Findlay, Ohio, native decided to attend Ohio State because of its engineering program and the chance to continue his lifelong swimming career at the college level.
As an Ohio State men’s swim and dive team member for two years, Hopkins was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Athlete for earning a 4.0 GPA sophomore year. He also participated in the Wolstein Leadership Academy.
At the urging of John Clay, a professor of practice in chemical and biomolecular engineering, Hopkins decided to get involved in undergraduate research. He began working in Professor Nick Brunelli’s research group in January 2020, working to advance their capabilities for the synthesis of zeolites, commonly used commercial catalysts. Last month Hopkins earned second place in the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum’s engineering life sciences category for his research in this area.
“Justin is a phenomenal student who has immense capabilities and intellectual capacity,” said Brunelli. “He clearly shows a passion for research that will translate into success at the highest levels.”
Brunelli also credits Hopkins with being the driving force who helped establish a student chapter of chemical engineering honorary Omega Chi Epsilon at Ohio State in 2019.
Hopkins completed three internships with Battelle’s Advanced Materials and Microfabrication Department where he designed and implemented solutions to clients’ problems. He also joined student organization Buckeyes for Christ as a sophomore, serving as its president since 2019.
After graduation, Hopkins will pursue a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota and ultimately plans to work in research consulting—a path he found thanks to his faculty mentors.
“One of the best things about my Ohio State experience is the professors I had really took an interest in what I wanted to do and were very helpful getting me where I wanted to be,” Hopkins explained. “I think that's been the game-changing factor of my career—I had professors who cared about me through the entire experience.”
Hopkins also offered some advice to future and current students—don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from doing your best.
“You're always going to face a lot of very tough problems, not just in school, but in life,” he said. “You have to take a little bit of academic courage when you approach those problems, because sometimes the fear of failure prevents you from putting your best effort towards it and growing as a person. [This] has made my experience more fulfilling and I've learned more because of it.”