Liz Lissy’s interest in chemistry began after attending Andrew Jackson Fundamental Magnet High School in Chalmette, Louisiana. Liz enrolled at LSU and majored in Chemistry and took Art History classes “just for fun”. As her senior year began she decided to look into career paths that could combine chemistry and art history. She graduated from LSU with a BS in Chemistry (CHEM concentration) in December 2010.
Liz immersed herself in activities of the Department of Chemistry while an undergrad. This involvement included the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) and working in Dr. Spivak’s research group. Liz even studied abroad in France. During her summers at LSU Liz interned at Lion Copolymer in Baton Rouge, where she worked on a variety of projects that gave her great work experience. She explains "The best thing I did as a student researcher was completing an undergraduate research thesis, which allowed me to graduate with Honors and more importantly gave me academic writing experience that has been important in my career. Participating in the weekly lab group meetings also helped me develop skills needed to communicate research objectives and findings to others".
Following undergraduate at LSU Liz attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania where she received her master’s degree in Conservation Science through the Historic Preservation program. While in graduate school she also did an internship at in which she worked on physical restoration and conservation of historic houses owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Today, Liz works at Keystone Preservation Group, a small business that focuses in historic preservation and conservation. She specializes in the analysis of historic finishes and enjoys most of her work week looking down a microscope at cross-sectioned paint samples from historic buildings all over the United States. Some of her favorite projects are the ones where she learns the materials and colors used in buildings date to as early as the 1770s and as recent as the 1970s. Working on the Hill College House in Philadelphia, Liz found 40 different colors of vertical stripes painted on different walls throughout the building. Her current project involves working on the interior of the United States Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. analyzing paint samples from the 1860s.
Her advice to current chemistry majors at LSU is to get involved in research, "to do internships every summer, and to get exposed to the kinds of chemistry career paths out there. Go to conferences and meet people who are doing research in areas that you might be interested in. My favorite conference I attend now is the Eastern Analytical Symposium in New Jersey. Look up programs for conferences like this and read about current work that interests you. Focus on what you really love, read about it, and try to contact people to talk to them about their work."
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