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LAB RAT OF THE WEEK: Annie Baldwin ’13

By Michelle B. Nguyen, Crimson Staff Writer

Unlike many fellow undergraduates, Anne M. Baldwin ’13 came to Harvard knowing she would be a science concentrator.

Now, the concentrator in chemistry and physics spends most of her time shuttling between the Quad and Mallinckrodt Lab, where she does inorganic chemistry research with Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Theodore A. Betley.

“Professor Betley comes highly recommended by other undergraduates,” Baldwin said. “He’s interested in teaching you and making sure that you learn, and not just produce results for him.”

The Currier House resident, who joined the lab this January, works with a high-spin trinuclear iron complex that was recently synthesized and characterized by the Betley group.

She works to further explore the complex’s reactivity and its ability to mediate the multielectron activation of small molecules, which can be used for the conversion of harmful greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, into their constituent elements.

The project, which promises to reduce global warming and contribute to the production of clean and storable energy, fits with Baldwin’s interest in the environment.

Since freshman year, she’s been working with the Resource Efficiency Program (REP) to educate her peers on environmental issues and encourage them to make environmentally friendly choices.

“Annie was bursting with enthusiasm when I first met her last term,” Betley said. “Undergraduates are often tugged in many directions beyond their studies and prioritizing research is often not emphasized. However, Annie has been diligent and has pushed her project forward through the term.”

Baldwin now spends over 15 hours per week at the Betley lab, and expects to continue with the project over the summer as part of the Harvard College Program for Research in Science and Engineering (PRISE).

The New York native discovered her interest in the sciences after doing research at a mechanical engineering lab at Columbia University.

“The atmosphere I found there, and the excellent mentorship I had from my first lab advisor really encouraged me to move forward,” she said.

Outside of lab, Baldwin is an active member of the Harvard Model Congress, a board member of the Chemistry Club, and the president of the Society for Physics Students. However, she’s not all about the sciences, according to her friend Chandan G. Lodha ’13.

“She’s really fun and has a good sense of humor,” Lodha said. “She’s really well-rounded.”

Beyond Harvard, Baldwin has her eyes set on graduate school, but said she isn’t certain if she wants to remain in academia.

“I like working with people and applying science to the real world so I’d love to end up in an energy technology company,” she said.

—Staff writer Michelle B. Nguyen can be reached at

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