Scholar Profile

David Chavez

Voted Most Likely To:

California Institute of Technology, Class of 1996
Harvard University, AM
Harvard University, PhD

Currently Working As:
Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory

What do you love about your job?
What I love most about my career as a chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory are the numerous opportunities I have to use my background in organic chemistry to contribute to solutions to challenging problems in national security. The research I pursue provides material solutions to problems in the field of energetic materials, which includes the areas of propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics. I also love being able to share my research with others.

What has been the most exciting part of your career so far?
There are several exciting aspects to my career. I really enjoy scientific research! It is like being a pioneer exploring unknown lands, but in my case, it is about exploring novel arrangements of atoms in molecules and creating materials that have properties never before seen or studied. Being creative, thinking of new possibilities and making those new ideas become reality is something I never thought would be possible for me growing up in a small rural town in Northern New Mexico.

What would you tell yourself at age 18?
There will be times when life will be very challenging, keep working hard and don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be grateful for all that you have and help others achieve their best.

How has ACS Scholars impacted your life and career?
Being a part of ACS Scholars has had a positive effect in my life and career in many important ways. Financially, the scholarship helped me to be able to cover the costs of my undergraduate education. This was particularly impactful because my family and I didn’t have many resources. But just as important, ACS Scholars opened up opportunities for me to explore research and different career opportunities related to chemistry. These opportunities opened up other opportunities for me.