Faulkner biochemistry graduate pursues PhD in Chemistry at Florida State

Faulkner biochemistry graduate pursues PhD in Chemistry at Florida State

l-r Peyton Osborn and Dr. Theodore Sabir stand inside Faulkner's chemistry lab.
l-r Peyton Osborn and Dr. Theodore Sabir.

The chemistry department at Faulkner University is small yet making great strides. The program has graduated students in recent years who have gone on to secure admission in medical schools, veterinary schools, PhD programs and pharmacy schools about the country. The most recent of Faulkner’s chemistry success is Peyton Osborn.  Osborn, who graduated this May, is now entering Florida State University (FSU) to pursue his MS and PhD in chemistry. His program is fully funded and provides him with both tuition waivers and a living expense stipend to attend the sunshine state university’s program.

Osborn’s academic journey on campus was a bit of an anomaly. He graduated with a double major in biochemistry, and English with minors in biology and Bible. These university major and minor areas to some are seemingly in opposition of one another, but Osborn sees them as compatible pairings. 

“There is balance between science, philosophy and faith,” Osborn said. “English is a language of the medium of human experience. We use language to understand things, read and write. Chemistry and Biochemistry are sciences to understand the world at a mechanistic level. Math is the theoretical language of science to understand the world at a deeper level. But science would be impossible without a general language to conduct it in.”

“Although they seem very different to faith, they are very complementary to each other. If you draw knowledge from just one source, you’ll become rigid in your thinking, but if you can draw from two or more sources, you’ll become more well-rounded,” he added.

The Faulkner chemistry education provides students with the opportunity to view the science and research through a “faith lens,” says program director and professor of chemistry and biochemistry Dr. Theodore Sabir. Sabir teaches chemistry, biochemistry, mathematical, scientific and philosophical studies. He guides his students through pedagogy and dissertation advising and research. 

Dr. Sabir says, “I have enjoyed working with Peyton. He is a great student and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Preparing students like Osborn to pursue such prestigious levels of graduate studies is a testament to the small, but excellent biochemistry degree at Faulkner that began in 2014 under Sabir. Since then, graduates from the program have been accepted at schools such as University of Florida, Rochester University New York, Tufts University New England, Auburn University and other US and Canadian Universities. Dr. Sabir said, “to God be the glory.”

“Our students are given a very rigorous curriculum in chemistry, biology, research and in their internship selections,” Sabir said. “When they apply to graduate programs they are well-prepared. The beautiful thing about our program being small in size is that it allows our students to have one-on-one attention with their professors, which is critical for learning and success.”

During his time at FSU, Osborn will choose his concentration from the six traditional branches of chemistry: biochemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry, and analytical chemistry. The coursework should take about five years to obtain his PhD and along the way, he will earn his Masters from the same program at the three-year mark. As a part of the graduate assistantship, Osborn will participate in rotations, work under professors, participate in research and help teach labs and undergraduate courses.

While still undecided on his specialty, after looking at their offerings, Osborn is interested in researching photochemical interactions, light, solar energy technology, gene editing and enzyme and protein chemistry as it relates to disease prevention.

Although heading to FSU moves Osborn to Tallahassee, he will always view Faulkner as a home away from home.

Peyton Osborn said he is very pleased with his Faulkner university education. He experienced love and loss, found lasting friendships and made unforgettable memories. He defended his honors thesis and graduated as a Great Books Honors student, sang in the Faulkner University Chorus and Faulkner Singers Chamber Choir, served as the spiritual director of the chorus, served on the Great Books Council, was a founding member of the student-led GraceNote show choir group and served on the editorial staff of Images in Ink.

“Those were some of my absolute favorite things here,” Osborn said. “They made me love Faulkner and were large reasons why I kept coming back. I especially enjoyed my time in the chorus, on our chorus tours, and of course in Great Books.”

“The influential people and the friends I’ve made here have been really good to me. The faculty have been so supportive.  Dr. Sabir, Dr. Cunningham, Dr. Clements, Dr. Art Williams, Dr. Fullman, Dr. Jacobs, Dr. Shirley, my advisors in English, and all the other faculty with whom I have been blessed to interact, everyone has helped me and been exceedingly kind and instructive,” Osborn said. “With some of them, I’d go into their offices to talk about life, faith, silly stories, classwork, or other random events of the day. And when I lost my dad unexpectedly in the fall of 2020 right around the time of the pandemic, many of them emailed me with encouraging messages and worked with me so that I wouldn’t fall behind in my classes when I was struggling. The level of support I was shown and the relationships I have cultivated solidified my conviction that I made the right choice in choosing Faulkner. I’m so glad and thankful I came here. This truly is a very special place, and I will remember this chapter of my life with bittersweet fondness as I move on to the next one.”