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Spotlight: Nathaniel Blalock

picture of Nathaniel Blalock wearing a Tuxedo in martial arts pose standing in front of a car

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ―C.S. Lewis

Major: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Graduation Year: 2022

What made you decide to attend UT?

I decided to attend UT because it was the best financial decision for me. I had looked at several other colleges, but UT’s in-state tuition was the best option for me financially for the best education possible for the areas of engineering and science that interested me.

Please share your involvement on and off campus (i.e. clubs, societies, other organizations).

I am the President of Delta Alpha Pi as well as a Peer Mentor for Student Disability Services- both have been fun positions and made friends, Tennessee Running Club, Undergraduate Research Assistant with Dr. Trinh, Dr. Faber, Dr, Millet, and Dr. Boder.

Advice for UT Students

I would reach out to Student Disability Services (SDS) for the peace of mind of their support and student advocacy even if you are not sure if you qualify. I had a mixed experience as a type 1 diabetic in high school, so I was hesitant. At the University of Tennessee, my experience with SDS has been positive. I feel confident as a student with a disability with their help.

My first club was the running club here. I made quick friends there because I knew we shared similar history and interests. I would recommend seeking a club right off the bat if you are not in athletics or the music program. It is nice to have friends that share hobbies with you to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

I recommend having a calendar. I use Google Calendar since it is on my phone and laptop.

What kinds of study habits do you find most useful in college? Is there a specific place you like to study, or a particular method you use to stay focused?

I have five playlists on Spotify: Chill Study, Dance Study, Spaced Study, Zoned Study, and Hardcore Study. Personally, I study best when I designate an area for studying, so when I take breaks, I get up from my desk to check my phone and watch tv on my laptop. I also drink coffee or tea!

What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day of classes and studying?

When I am by myself. I watch a funny tv show, read a book or devotion, or play the piano or drums. I love to run as well, and I often run with friends made through the Tennessee Running Club to vent my frustration or celebrate my little victories.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is my desk in a research lab. I have grown as a student and researcher persevering through the ups and downs of both failed and successful experiments as well as managing my academic workload. I value my journey as a research student, and I feel confident conducting research.

What are your plans after graduation?

After undergrad, I am pursuing a PhD in metabolic engineering. I want to be a professor and teach. I am a HUGE nerd, and I love education. Education has enabled me to better understand myself and overcome difficult circumstances. I want to enable future students in the same way while also diving in to research related to the metabolism, an area related to my chronic illness and academic curiosity.