Yueming Long – Chemistry


Christina Denovio, Sports Editor

Yueming Long is a chemistry major from Shanghai, China who has high hopes for her future career. Long credits her very first organic chemistry class taught by professor Dr. Paul Jones for her decision to pursue the major.

“It was the first time I felt like instead of just teaching, [the professor] was involving me in learning,” Long said. “I was more than just a student, I was a participant.”

Before she came to Wake Forest, she was interested in biology. After taking several courses in both biology and chemistry though, Long decided to continue with chemistry after experiencing her professors’ mentorship and the support of the chemistry department.

When asked about her favorite part of studying here at Wake Forest, Long said, “It’s the small environment. Here, your professor remembers you, and you can interact with them after class hours. They’re always there for you.”

Coming from China, Long described attending college in America and the changes that came with it as “challenging, a little bit scary and exciting.” Long expressed that the shift to the American teaching system was also quite an adjustment.

“[In China], the teachers take a role kind of as a parent rather than just teaching,” she said. “It’s much more self-structured in America.”

Long expressed that she appreciated the American style of teaching more because she found the newfound independence refreshing.

When discussing her relationships with the professors in the chemistry department, Long said, “I feel like I have a connection with some of them that’s more than just being a student.”

She emphasized that she was always comfortable asking questions and described these relationships as more of a “mentor/mentee” relationship than “professor/student.”

Long’s principal investigator, Dr. S. Bruce King, said, “I had Yueming as a freshman for organic chemistry and she was a great student.  As she’s progressed through our courses, many faculty have said, ‘Yueming was my top student’ or ‘she did an outstanding job in my class.’  I was really happy when she decided to join my lab where, not surprisingly, she’s continued to do excellent work.”

Long worked as a teacher’s assistant for Organic Chemistry I and General Chemistry I, and was a supplemental instructor for an Organic Chemistry I lecture.

During her time as a TA, Long saw how much people can grow and absorb information over their four years at college. Her goal was to maximize their growth and capacity for learning.

Looking towards the next couple of years, Long will be attending graduate school this fall at the California Institute of Technology, and after that plans to become a research scientist. She would potentially like to start her own company, too.

After graduating, Long looks forward to maintaining a strong relationship with Wake Forest and the chemistry community, and she has professional goals, too.

“I want to establish my professional career to a point that I can actually be helpful in a way, that I can establish something here,” Long said. “I want to make a connection that’s deeper than just visiting professors.”

Looking back at her time in college, Long appreciates her varied experiences, all they have enabled her to do and the knowledge that she will be taking with her.

“It sounds small,” Long said, “but my favorite accomplishment is that I know that I can do more than before.”

Discussing the difficulties of online learning this year, Long wanted to send words of encouragement to students struggling with these new methods adopted during the pandemic:

“Everything’s getting better and it will be different very soon.”