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From coast to coast: Why PhD graduate transferred to ASU


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Cody Weyhrich will graduate this spring with a PhD in chemistry from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

May 04, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.

Everyone’s Sun Devil story is different. For Cody Weyhrich, his story did not start in Arizona.

Weyhrich began his graduate school journey at Virginia Tech, but when seeing the opportunities at Arizona State University and the Biodesign Institute, he knew he could not miss out.

In 2020, Professor Timothy Long started the Biodesign Center for Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing, or SM3, at ASU, and ultimately Cody followed.

“The ASU community and ASU's vision to use research to have real-life impact led me to make the decision to join Professor Long in the move to Tempe,” said Weyhrich, who will graduate this spring with a PhD in chemistry from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

During his time at ASU and working for the SM3 lab, Weyhrich learned the importance of working closely with professors and peers. He continued to foster his relationship with Long, who ultimately taught Weyhrich some of his most important lessons.

“His guidance, support and encouragement enabled the success of my research and allowed me to reach the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of my graduate school career,” Weyhrich said.

Following graduation, Weyhrich has accepted a postdoctoral scholar position at Duke University under the guidance of Professor Matt Becker. He will be working on a DARPA-funded research project for the development of novel, fiber-reinforced polymer matrices for next-generation ballistic protection materials.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I started as a biology major but quickly found that the required chemistry classes were far more interesting, and I enjoyed exploring the molecular effect on macroscopic properties. My "aha" moment came when I enrolled in a polymer chemistry elective course and learned how well-understood fundamental concepts led to major technological developments that have enabled a wide variety of creature comforts we enjoy today.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I'd say probably Biodesign C, as I spent around 80% of my time on campus here.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would further our research efforts to provide more sustainable materials for manufacturing. This is meaningful and addresses the unsustainable practices of plastics. I would advance sustainable polymer science with recyclable, bio-derived and dematerialized structures.

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