Samuel Mercer came to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) from his hometown of Sanford, Maine, to study chemical engineering. He is a 2021 Goldwater Scholar and is involved on campus as part of the University Honors Program, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the German Club. He is also the president of Eizent Innovations, an organization he cofounded that operates similarly to a startup company. Sam has a clear and ambitious plan for where his studies will lead him after he earns a bachelor of science degree in 2023. He aims to obtain a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and to conduct research in nanotechnology for applications in energy production processes. He also plans to advocate for legislative or economic developments that could help improve how energy is utilized and to teach at the university level. With those long-term goals in mind, he embarked on research projects that would help him build the needed skills, knowledge, and experience. Sam came to understand and appreciate the depth of work that has been done in the very small subfield of molecular catalysis through his work for the Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program (REAP). But he also learned lessons about research itself: the value and fun of a thorough literature review, the need for perseverance, and, by adapting to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new way of thinking about science.