Dr. Phillip J. Carlson

Placed on the Track to Success


Dr. Phillip Carlson

Dr. Philip J. Carlson, a professor at Belhaven University, graduated from Wayland in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in both mathematics and chemistry. After graduation, Carlson attended Iowa State University where he studied electronic structure theory and fluorescence spectroscopy and earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 2012. Carlson also obtained a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies in 2011--a series of successful events that were inspired by his experiences at Wayland.

“During my time at Wayland I had some great professors who were inspiring and I also had the opportunity to do very solid undergraduate research in chemistry. We published a couple of peer-reviewed papers and we were even able to obtain a patent.”

Many of these professors supported Carlson’s undergraduate career through numerous academic opportunities, and encouraged him to seek higher education. Meanwhile, Dr. Carlson notes that undergraduate research helped prepare him for graduate studies while also enhancing his learning experience at Wayland.

“The education I received from Wayland, particularly from the math department and from the chemistry department, put me on a solid track to succeed in graduate school. Dr. Joel Boyd and Dr. Scott Franklin each helped me develop academically and went above and beyond to provide help and guidance.”  

This guidance led Carlson to the Welch Foundation, which allowed him to spend summers researching in the lab and gaining necessary skillsets.

“As a Welch undergraduate research fellow the experience was truly top notch. We gave oral presentations of our work at a number of professional scientific meetings and gave poster presentations as well. I also had the opportunity to write an undergraduate thesis which helped me prepare for graduate school.”

While undergraduate research required countless hours of hard work, Carlson says that his fondest memories of Wayland took place while conducting lab research.

“I’ve always loved the research. During my summer research experience, I worked with my fellow student, Lori Pretzer (now Dr. Lori Crom). We were able to make great headway on the photocatalytic removal of nitrogenous materials via titanium dioxide. The patent we received for our work was very rewarding!”

 Now, Carlson serves as an Assistant Professor of Physics and Chemistry at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. This position allows Carlson to help strengthen the university's science department and conduct research from both a scientific and worldview perspective. Most of all, Carlson is grateful to be teaching at a Christian university that has welcomed both him and his family into their community much like Wayland first accepted Carlson into the its family of students, faculty, and staff.

 “One of the great things about Wayland is the small campus and thus small class sizes. My wife and I are both graduates from Wayland and we loved that Plainview isn’t an overwhelmingly huge town--the campus is much the same. It’s a rare thing to be able to walk across a campus and be able to call many people by name, but that’s the way Wayland is. Additionally, this allows the professors to know you by name and to invest more into their students.”