Skip to main

Class of 2024: Dalton A. Pearl

Transfer student Dalton A. Pearl triple majored in Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Physics on the Hill. While much of his time was spent in the lab conducting research, he was also a member of the men’s wrestling team, coming in third in the Centennial Conference his senior year. After graduation, Dalton is pursuing a doctorate in materials science and engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

A student wearing a hat leans on a railing looking off camera while smiling.

Dalton A. Pearl is a Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Physics major from Jefferson, Maryland.

When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: Excited. I was excited about the possibilities that would come with my time at McDaniel. I was excited to continue my education, continue to wrestle, and continue to pursue my dreams.

The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: Proud. I will be proud of all that I have done. I will be proud of graduating with three degrees. I will be proud of wrestling for all five years in college. I will be proud of pursuing a doctoral degree. I will be proud of the relationships I have fostered and my experiences while on the Hill.

Real-world experiences: In the summer of 2023, I conducted research under the advisement of Dr. Stephanie Homan in the Chemistry Department. For this, I examined the fluorescent properties of novel Schiff-base complexes synthesized by fellow researchers Matthew Denny and Makela Brown to determine their applicability as chemosensors. Furthermore, in the 2024 January Term and spring semester, I conducted an independent study under Dr. Apollo Mian’s advisement titled “Synthesis and Characterization of Quatum-Dot Doped Photonic Crystals.” Both research sets and all three of my capstone presentations are being presented at the Academic Symposium this year.

My aha moment: My aha moment on the Hill came when I realized I was doing something not many have ever done at McDaniel. I learned that having three STEM majors wasn’t normal and wasn’t easy. This made me proud of what I accomplished.

Footprints I’m leaving on the Hill: I am leaving behind the impact of showing others it is possible. I want everyone to remember that you can succeed, whatever your goals are, no matter who doubts you. ’Cause no one would’ve thought the wrestling country boy would graduate with three STEM degrees and go on to pursue a doctorate.

Faculty or staff member who most influenced who I have become: Dr. Stephanie Homan of the Chemistry Department was the most influential faculty member to me in my time at McDaniel. She guided me to become the scientist I am and am still striving to become.

Best class ever: The best class I took at McDaniel was my independent research. It gave me the opportunity to see what graduate school would be like with balancing classes and independent research.

Tell us a little about your activities, including sports, during your years at McDaniel: In my two years at McDaniel, I competed at the varsity level on the McDaniel men’s wrestling team. In my first year, I suffered a dislocated elbow injury and missed 12 weeks, returning for the last four weeks of competition. The second year, I placed third at the Centennial Conference. I am also a two-year Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honor Society member.

Took me totally by surprise: The amount of research opportunities McDaniel offers was surprising. My previous institutions did not have research opportunities, and it was inspiring to find out that independent research was possible at McDaniel.

My favorite spot on campus: My favorite spot on campus is the Roj Student Center. I always went to Roj to work on assignments and hang out with friends.

Most mind-boggling idea I learned at McDaniel: Quantum mechanics: Imagine a ball is in front of you, you look away, the ball is gone, and you look away again, and the ball is back. Why? Probability.

A student leans back on a railing in front of cherry blossom trees while wearing a camo hat and McDaniel wrestling shirt.

My capstone titles:

Biochemistry: “Recent advances in Biomimetic Materials for Artificial Ligament Repair.”

Chemistry: “Examination of Ultrafast Excited State Dynamics in Schiff-base Metal Complexes.”

Physics: “Synthesis and Characterization of Functionalized Photonic Crystals.”

What they’re about in plain talk:

Biochemistry: New materials being researched for reducing recovery time of ligament repair surgeries.

Chemistry: Looking at how and why something glows and doesn’t glow in the presence of different metals.

Physics: Making crystals that have interesting light characteristics.

What’s next: After graduation, I am pursuing a doctoral degree in materials science and engineering as a research assistant at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I will research new methods of characterizing novel materials for extreme temperature environments.

How will you stay connected to McDaniel? I will stay connected to McDaniel through the relationships I have made with other undergrads and professors at the school.

What did that mean for you and your family if you received financial aid? The financial aid I received from McDaniel allowed me to pursue my education and dreams without putting any further pressure on my parents for financial support.

About Dalton

Name: Dalton A. Pearl

Majors: Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Physics

Class of 2024

"I want everyone to remember that you can succeed, whatever your goals are, no matter who doubts you. ’Cause no one would’ve thought the wrestling country boy would graduate with three STEM degrees and go on to pursue a doctorate."