Celebrating the graduates of Fall 2020: Christopher Jay Robidillo

Member of the graduating class of Fall 2020 Christopher Jay Robidillo looks back on his time and accomplishments at UAlberta.

News Staff - 17 November 2020

In 2020, convocation at the University of Alberta is taking place virtually. Join us on November 20th when our graduates, proud family and friends, and instructors will celebrate the class of Fall 2020’s hard work and achievements. 

 As the celebration approaches, meet Christopher Jay Robidillo, graduating with a PhD in chemistry through a joint degree from the University of Alberta’s Department of Chemistry and the Technical University of Munich via the ATUMS program. Robidillo is the first graduate from the joint PhD program. 

What led you to pick UAlberta for your studies?

Quantum dots. I was, and still am, fascinated by these intriguing and apparently very useful tiny glowing particles. Quantum dots have many applications, ranging from medical imaging to sensors for toxins As the University of Alberta is home to Professor Jon Veinot, a renowned expert in the quantum dot field, I applied to the UAlberta Department of Chemistry in a heartbeat.

Tell us about your experience in the Faculty of Science.

I enjoyed my stay at UAlberta. It's a great privilege to learn chemistry from renowned chemists who are recognized experts in their fields. Thesis-wise, I learned to persevere and be patient, to be creative and innovative. I also had the pleasure of working with Jon Veinot, my supervisor, who encouraged me and guided me in pursuing new lines of research in the silicon quantum dot field, ultimately leading to about four and a half years of fruitful research.

I am also blessed to be part of the Alberta/Technical University of Munich International Graduate School for Hybrid Functional Materials (ATUMS) where I had the very rare opportunity to conduct collaborative research at both UAlberta and the Technical University of Munich in Germany. The training that I received from the ATUMS program honed me into becoming the scientist that I am now.

What is one of your favourite memories from your time at UAlberta?

Winter. I know that most Canadians hate winter, but I love winter. I enjoyed the view of the quad covered in knee-deep snow. I just love snow. You can't blame m—I came from a tropical country.

What advice do you have for current and future students at the Faculty of Science?

Be persistent. If an experiment doesn't work, don't feel despondent, but get back in there and try again. Learn from your mistakes, though. Try a different strategy. Don't keep doing the same thing hoping to get different results. 

How have you spent your time during COVID-19 distancing?

I am currently a chemistry instructor. So I was—and still am—teaching online during COVID-19 distancing.

How do you plan on celebrating convocation?

Celebrating at home with my family. No outside gatherings.

What's next after graduation?

Post-doctoral research. Afterwards, I intend to go back to teaching chemistry at a university.