Organic Chemistry 2 Enhancement

I enhanced Organic Chemistry 2 during the fall semester of 2017. The focus of my enhancement was on the creation of a poster detailing the processes in the biosynthesis of cocaine in Erythroxlyum Coca. This consisted of a weekly meeting my chemistry professor in which we would examine one step in the overall process. I would bring with me articles I had researched for this week’s step, and then he would go over the article and make sure I understood the process that was occurring in this step. Afterwards we would then compare and contrast the chemistry that occurred in this step with a similar process that occurred in the human body. After a couple weeks of this process I then assembled a poster with additional review again from Dr.Yeagley. Then I finally presented this poster to other honors students and professors along with all the other students who enhanced a class for the semester.

While learning about the processes that actually create cocaine in great detail was extremely interesting, in part due to its taboo nature, I believe that the most important part of this experience was the comparisons made to the chemistry that happen inside of the human body. By examine the differences and similarities between the plant and human body, I was forced to critically examine what the goal of each step was, why it happened, and how it set up for the next reaction. This close examination of each step allowed for me to think of chemistry in more critically and analytical manner then is done in a normal class. It also allowed for me to admire just how versatile chemistry is, and how many different complex systems there are to accomplish similar objectives.