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RESEARCHER For as long as he can remember, Michael Casper ’17 has been fascinated by space. “I never tire of thinking about the countless unknown worlds and all the mysteries that remain out there,” he said. “In a nutshell, I’m passionate about the unknown, the yet-to-bediscovered and the future.” That curiosity is being put to good use at UNCW, where Casper is a chemistry major in the Honors College with a minor in mathematics. He won’t be finished when he leaves UNCW – after graduation he plans to pursue a second undergraduate degree, in chemical engineering, from North Carolina State University. “Chemical engineering plays an important role in space exploration,” Casper said. Many instruments used in satellites and rovers are the same type as those used in chemical labs, and chemical engineering is important in developing fuels and other materials that have broad applications, including space, he explained. “Getting a job at a cutting-edge space company like Elon Musk’s SpaceX is one of my dreams,” he said. Like many UNCW students, Casper has chosen to enhance his studies through undergraduate research. He is studying azetidines, organic compounds that may one day have uses in medicine, under the supervision of professor of chemistry and biochemistry Jeremy Morgan. “Michael is a very skilled and thoughtful undergraduate researcher,” Morgan said. “He seems to always be focused on the problem at hand, while creating a fun atmosphere for his labmates.” Casper, a member and former vice president of the UNCW Surf Club, studied abroad in Perth, Australia, and expects to graduate with university and departmental honors. He also has received the Tower 7/WBLiveSurf Scholarship, the Nunzio and Edith DePaolo Scholarship, Will S. DeLoach Chemistry Scholarship and Surf Team Scholarship, among others.

“In a nutshell, I’m passionate about the unknown, the yet-to-be discovered and the future.”

He credits his success, in part, to excellent instructors. “I wish that the general public knew how good the teaching staff is at UNCW. Every professor really cares about each and every student.” – Tricia Vance



UNCW Magazine Fall/Winter 2016  
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