Timothy Wade works in the Chemistry department at Drexel University analyzing samples created by staff and students on a mass spectrometer. He also maintains the NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) machines and trains students and faculty on the use of these machines. He has worked at Drexel since 2008.
The Triangle: How did you end up at Drexel?
Timothy Wade: Chemistry was originally my second career. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and my first job was at a Sears’s robot company as a manager. I traveled across the country for work with my family but the constant traveling while having a family made me look for another job. I went back to school for a degree in computer sciences. Taking the general courses at a local community college, chemistry caught my attention and really interested me. I then went to Drexel to finish my degree at night school. After graduating, I was approached by one of the professors at the time, Dr. Alan Bandy, who asked me to work for him. I began working in his lab studying atmospheric chemistry while taking graduate classes too. I left to work for a chemical company in Pennsylvania afterwards for nine years and eventually made contact with Bandy again. I ended up working for him in the field, doing research, which eventually led to me to my current job now.
TT: How would you describe the dynamic in your lab?
TW: Specifically, my lab is really just me, but I work with a lot of people. I work with all the research groups that have compounds to be analyzed. I maintain instrumentation of samples and train people how to use them. I love the opportunity that I have to work with all the different people that are doing research.
TT: What’s your favorite thing about chemistry?
TW: My favorite thing about chemistry is what we don’t know. We have a lot of research groups who are running things in different ways and are trying to make things that have never been made before. There’s a lot of innovation in here and a lot of times they are excited to just try and make things to see if they could be made. Consequently, a lot of the times I’ll have to analyze these things and that means I’m one of the first people to experience and see these breakthroughs. In a lot of ways, I’m the only one in the world doing my job because I’m working side by side with the only ones doing theirs.
TT: What are your favorite TV shows?
TW: I watch a lot of trash! I’d probably say my favorite news show now is TMZ just because I find it very relaxing, taking me outside of what I normally do. I watch the Walking Dead, Fear of the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. I watch a lot of cable television.
TT: If you could be any animal what would you be?
TW: My older brother always collected reptiles due to numerous allergies, and I was exposed to a lot of turtles. I was pretty fond of them and they seem like they have it pretty easy lying in the sun. At the same time, they are also very tough and resilient. I would say a turtle.
TT: What’s the best resource that a college student has?
TW: At universities like Drexel where you are exposed to different people, cultures and ideas, new horizons are what really help people grow. I tell students I meet that they should try everything, gain exposure to all the different programs and features that take place at the school. Take interest in art or dance, something completely new. I had never been to an art museum before I went to school and it greatly interested me. Everyone should go and do these things once so that you can expand your horizons.