Before he walked across the stage in McKenzie Arena to accept his baccalaureate of science degree in chemistry, Marko Bajic earned national recognition for his undergraduate research.
His academic journey in the US began when he arrived in 1997.
Bajic was born in Croatia where war drove his family to begin a new life in the United States. They had help from Bridge Refugee & Sponsorship Services, Inc. He attended McBrien Elementary and Ooltewah High School, where he said he took an interest in physics and anatomy.
“I plan to become an orthopedic surgeon and I hope to attend the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis,” said Bajic.
Bajic enjoyed the opportunity to do research at UTC. “At many schools only graduate students do research. This makes me feel really prepared to move on,” he said.
He began working as a summer research assistant after his freshman year for Dr. Gregory J. Grant, Irvine W. Grote Professor of Chemistry.
“His project was Supramolecular Complexes of Ruthenium(II). This led to a Departmental Honors Thesis for him as well as six presentations of his research at professional meetings including National Meetings of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in New Orleans (2008), Salt Lake City (2009), and last month in San Francisco,” said Grant.
In 2008, the Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) honored Bajic with its top prize for best research talk by an undergraduate student among 100 student presentations.
“His research has implications in electronic communication in nanotechnology and should result in at least two publications,” said Grant.
Now that he has graduated, Bajic will have a bit of travel time as he takes a trip to Germany with the UTC University Honors program.
“I’ve always wanted to go there. Part of our program is to study a topic and act as a tour guide to our group, then make a presentation when we come back. Mine will be on 19th century architecture in Munich,” Bajic said.