It’s always been about solving mysteries when it comes to Chastyn Smith. The senior at Richmond Community High School loves to read mystery novels, cure and at one point even wanted to be a detective. However, view she decided to focus more on the mysteries of science than crime.
“I like science, period. I like working with the body and figuring out how it works and I like mysteries. So, (combining the two) I wanted to do forensic science … I like working with the chemicals more and being able to connect the pieces of death and things,” Chastyn said.
She said she first became interested in chemistry and forensic science the second semester of her sophomore year. It was during this year that she said she had her “first actual experience in a real laboratory” in her chemistry class.
“I liked the setup and I liked the feeling, that’s where I got the first idea from,” Chastyn said. “What solidified it was over the summer I worked at the Richmond Waste Water Treatment Plant. That was more of a professional lab and I really liked it.”
Working in the plant, Chastyn was able to gain experience in what professional chemists do such as adjusting pH samples, performing substance tests, and collecting samples. She hopes to take this experience with her into higher education. Her top three schools are Pennsylvania State University, the University of Virginia, and Marshall University in West Virginia. She said these schools all offered forensic science as an actual major and not just as a concentration. She said she has already been accepted into Arcadia University, but that is not in her top three.
Another reason she has chosen each of the top three is because they all have football. Sports is a major part of Chastyn’s life; she has always enjoyed watching them. Her favorite sports are football, baseball, and softball. She said she loves football the most.
“With football, I’ve cheered for it in recreation. So, since a young age, I’ve been around football. My cousins played it, and my little brother plays it now, so I always went to their games. My dad is also a huge football fan. With baseball, my brother has played so I’ve always been around it,” she said. Chastyn has been playing softball at her zone school, John Marshall High School, since her sophomore year. She served as captain her junior year and continued that role as a senior.
Her ultimate goal is to combine both of her passions of sports and science. After graduating college, she said she wants to earn a Master of Science from Marshall University. Her dream would be to make football equipment for football players.
“I don’t exactly want to do kinesiology, and I don’t want to be an engineer working in a factory. I want to make football helmets, so that they can be safe,” Chastyn said. “I want to make the equipment and be on the field at football games interacting with players, getting their opinions on equipment that they need.”