Friday, April 8, 2022

Jonah Marks – CBE Student Spotlight

Current PhD candidate Jonah Marks is a graduate research assistant in the Gomes Lab. Learn more about Marks’ research focus, and the memories he’s made here at the University of Iowa!


I am originally from Fairfield, Iowa

Undergraduate Degree

My undergraduate degree is a BSE in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Chemistry.

How did you choose the University of Iowa for your graduate studies?

I did my undergraduate studies here, during that time I got involved in research, first with Dr. Nuxoll and then with Dr. Gomes. Once I started working with Dr. Gomes I quickly realized that I wanted to continue in this field, so I applied here to continue working with him.

What professor are you doing research with, and what is the focus of your research?

I work with Dr. Gomes and the focus of my research is developing and applying machine learning based simulation methods for molecular property prediction, reaction dynamics.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m becoming increasingly interested in pursuing a post-doc position after graduating. Long-term I am interested in starting my own company or research group to develop data driven simulation methods.

What advice do you have for incoming graduate students?

Create a good schedule for research, school, and exercise. Also buy a warmer coat than you think you need.

What has been your favorite memory from your time at the University of Iowa?

There have been countless fun moments like my candy-debt with Dr. Guymon, trying to figure out Dr. Nuxoll’s shirt schedule, Dr. Fiegel bringing snacks to our 7am final. I also remember many occasions where professors paid attention to what I was interested in and pushed me to take more advanced courses which ultimately led me to getting involved in research and pursuing grad school. Looking back, I just get a warm feeling about all my interactions with the department.

Favorite class you have taken at the University of Iowa? 

My favorite class was the graduate thermodynamics course with Dr. Stanier. I’ve always liked thermodynamics and I found the deeper dive into the subject fascinating. We also did some basic python which was one of my first experiences applying coding to chemical engineering subjects.

What are some of your hobbies? 

I like rock climbing and weightlifting, when the weather is nice, I like to set up my hammock and read. I also keep quite a few house plants.

Favorite place to eat in Iowa City?

Nodo Downtown

Fun fact about you?

Before coming to college, I spent two years living in Europe and South America, I also spent a few summers of my undergrad backpacking. In total I have been to 26 countries.