Meet Nick Snow
Some people would call analytical chemists the detectives of chemistry,” said Dr. Snow. “If you think about the show CSI, many people would consider the forensic science that you see depicted as a sub-discipline of analytical chemistry.
Dr. Nicholas Snow found his passion for gas chromatography and fervor for teaching while attending graduate school at Virginia Tech and working under the late professor and esteemed chromatography icon, Harold McNair, Ph.D.

“Professor McNair had a love for anything related to gas chromatography and separation science, and it came through whenever he spoke,” said Dr. Snow. “What drove me most to become a professor was the time I spent working as a teaching assistant under him.”

Inspired by the teachings of Professor McNair, Dr. Snow decided to pursue a career in higher education as a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Seton Hall University in New Jersey where he has taught for the last 27 years.

In his tenure, Dr. Snow has run a research lab with projects in gas and liquid chromatography and successfully mentored and graduated more than 20 Ph.D. students. Beyond looking at gases, Dr. Snow applies his knowledge of separation sciences to pose and answer fundamental research questions by separating components of interest in any given product.

Chemistry has advanced exponentially since Dr. Snow first got into the field. “Back in the day, a lot of theories were made into lines,” said Dr. Snow. “You would make assumptions, then take a complex equation, and approximate it like a straight line. Without any special tools, you can easily draw a straight line and calculate its slope—no calculator needed. If I have a curved line, however, it's really difficult to draw it or calculate its slope without
special tools.”
Today, our access to advanced tools—not only calculators but also cutting-edge computers—has propelled chemistry teachings and operations forward by aiding our ability to achieve advanced, precise calculations.

Dr. Snow points to companies like Phenomenex as key drivers that help him successfully perform his experiments. He has enjoyed building a relationship with Phenomenex throughout his tenure—and he’s had the distinct honor to watch a few of his graduated
students build careers at Phenomenex.

One of his favorite things about Phenomenex was these training courses called The Advanced Institute: “Other companies have created courses that may seem similar in nature but always focus too much on selling their products. Phenomenex took a different
approach and designed its training program solely for the purpose of helping scientists. The people at Phenomenex have wonderful attitudes and are true partners to scientists.”

When reflecting on the impact of his work, Dr. Snow sees the accomplishments of his students as his biggest motivation. “Seeing the evolution of my students’ careers is one of the most fulfilling factors of being a professor,” said Dr. Snow. “Funny enough, both my primary care physician and my cats’ veterinarian took my general chemistry class about 25 years ago.”

The pandemic has created seismic shifts in all industries. Within science, specifically, the pandemic has shined a light on previously hidden, yet integral work being done to make human lives better, healthier, and safer. Dr. Snow is excited about what lies ahead and
feels confident that the field will continue to evolve and an influx of new minds will want to enter into this industry to contribute to life-changing work.

Dr. Snow offers his biggest piece of advice for the next generation:
No matter what field you want to pursue, make sure it is something that lights you up. Life is too short to have it be a struggle. Try your best to be happy and do the things that give you passion. Choose a career in which you wake up excited every day, ready to get to work and be the best person that you can be.
Outside of teaching students, Dr. Snow is starting to teach himself about cars and NASCAR. Though he regrets not picking up the hobby when he was younger and able to learn more quickly, he is enjoying the challenge and the creative freedom that it brings.