Meet chemistry major Brittany Duhon

Written byQuinn Foster

“I’ve gained a magnitude of skills and knowledge from my experiences at the university that can help me succeed in my career from learning how to better communicate, research and write professionally, and perform techniques relevant to my career choice.” 

Brittany Duhon
Carencro, LA

Where I'm From

I am from Carencro, Louisiana and as a child, I always imagined studying and graduating from UL Lafayette. 

Where I Am

I am a senior chemistry major with a passion for forensic science.  

Where I'm Going

I will become a forensic pathologist assistant. I will work alongside the forensic pathologists to help determine the cause of death by performing autopsies.

Brittany Duhon grew up going to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette football and softball games and knew that she wanted to attend the University when she got older. The local familial atmosphere and diverse student body attracted Brittany to UL Lafayette. 

“My favorite part about studying at University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the welcoming environment. You have the opportunity to meet many different students with different backgrounds and career paths and engage with the professors.” 

Connecting The Chemistry Dots at UL Lafayette  

Brittany chose to major in chemistry because of how vast the field is and its diverse impact on the world. 

“I chose to study Chemistry because it is always something I enjoyed learning about and wanted to pursue since it has such a huge impact on the world. Chemistry is such a broad field that is essential for our basic needs of survival and enriches our lives in many ways by providing solutions to global problems to make the world a better and safer place to live in.” 

Her two favorite chemistry courses are Analytical Chemistry lecture and Analytical Chemistry laboratory taught by Dr. Yan. Brittany said, “I enjoyed these classes mainly because of Dr. Yan, but I also enjoyed learning about the techniques used in analytical chemistry and what they can be used for such as separating the contents of a drug and determining the concentration of the contents in the drug via titration.” She also appreciated her experience in Organic Chemistry 1 Lab with Dr. Gallo because of the multiple techniques she learned.  

“[Dr. Gallo], like Dr. Yan, was a great professor and always helped in lab when [students] needed. I learned a lot from his lab because he helped me understand the mistakes I made and how to correct them which helped me in later labs. I learned many techniques from this class such as refluxing, liquid chromatography, extraction, and recrystallization.” 

Minor Studies Are Important

Brittany felt minoring in criminal justice would enhance her education experience at UL Lafayette because of her career interest in criminal investigations, “What I have learned in chemistry and criminal justice will aid me in determining the cause of death of victims in criminal investigations,” Brittany said. 

She believes it is important for a student to choose a minor that will complement their major studies. Her favorite criminal justice courses are Forensics I with Dr. Long and Drugs and Crime with Dr. Khey. From her coursework, she’s learned how to conduct 10-print fingerprints, analyze blood splatter, and how to sketch a crime scene. 

“Being a student at UL Lafayette gave me the opportunity for a summer internship at the Louisiana Forensic Center. I was able to work alongside the pathologists and assistants to perform autopsies and communicate with law enforcement pertaining to cases we worked on. It was the first time I got to see my chemistry and criminal justice knowledge work as one.”  

Cajun Culture and Zydeco Music at UL Lafayette 

Brittany appreciates the Cajun and Creole cultural pride and history at UL Lafayette. Her favorite elective courses were History of Louisiana taught by Dr. Skilton and Cajun and Zydeco Music taught by Dr. McGoffin. “I was able to learn about the history of Cajun and Zydeco music such as how it originated and some of the early Cajun and Zydeco singers and performers. I grew up on this genre of music, so it was interesting to learn the history of it,” Brittany said.

Brittany’s Future After Graduating UL Lafayette 

Brittany is currently working on a research project within the University with Dr. Louka about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. “We are working on a way to better extract oil from the ocean to prevent toxicity and protect marine life. This experience is valuable because it is allowing me to get hands on and develop a solution for an issue that is still occurring today. Overall, it is a great learning opportunity for both my major and real-world issues,” she said.  

After graduation, she hopes to become a forensic pathologist assistant and work alongside forensic pathologists to help find the cause of deaths by performing autopsies. 

“I’ve gained a magnitude of skills and knowledge from my experiences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that can help me succeed in my career from learning how to better communicate, research and write professionally, and perform techniques relevant to my career choice.” 

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