Matt Stewart

Student Blogger


My name is Matt Stewart and I’m a chemistry student. I’m excited to be a student blogger representing the sciences at Franciscan University of Steubenville for this next academic year. Franciscan has provided some pretty incredible opportunities for me the past couple years. I am excited to see what God does with our work, and I look forward to sharing more and keeping you updated.

Stewart: Looking Back at Franciscan

The above photo depicts what I woke up to nearly every morning for the past four years. That’s the St. Francis Residence Hall chapel, a place where my heart was slowly but radically transformed the past four years through spending time “just being” with the Lord without an agenda, through diligent and persistent meditation on the Word of God, and his movement in my heart and life.


Stewart: Graduation!

We did it! The class of 2014 has graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville! It was an extraordinarily special time this past weekend. I look back with immense gratitude, and I look forward with eager excitement.


Stewart: Alleluia! He Is Risen!

Happy Easter, everyone! The events this past weekend celebrating our Lord’s resurrection were filled with joy and fun. The Easter Vigil Mass was incredibly rejuvenating and just outright beautiful, and the celebration that followed had the JC Williams Center, the hangout center on campus, completely packed and filled to its max capacity!


Stewart: Presenting Research In Pittsburgh!

This past weekend, I was given the privilege of presenting some research at the American Chemical Society Student Member Symposium at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.

I was able to go with about five other students who were also involved…


Prosser: Walking Through History

Around the time that I was in 7th grade, I began to develop a deep love for learning about history, especially World War II. I vigorously read every book I could find on the topic. If you were to quiz me, I could have named off dates, given summaries of battles, and even told you personal testimonies from those who had been in concentration camps or fought on the front lines.


Stewart: Teaching Organic Chemistry? Yep!

It has been a couple weeks since my last blog post because I have been extremely busy… doing loads of research and teaching some of the organic chemistry labs.

If you were to tell me my freshman year that I would be able to teach some of the organic chemistry labs by my junior and senior year, I would have thought you were crazy. But, it’s a reality.


Stewart: Haiti – “Oh My Soul”

Well, spring break came and went… but it was no ordinary spring break. A week or so ago I was given the privilege of serving children of Haiti in an orphanage. It was a mission trip (not sponsored through the University) and man… talk about an eye opening and incredibly human experience.


Stewart: FUS Men’s Ministry: “Watchmen”

About once a month, a good portion of the men at Franciscan University pack into a room on campus for a time of fellowship and to discuss a topic. The topics are typically geared towards areas that are directly relatable to the life of a young, Catholic, adult man striving to grow in holiness.


Stewart: Preparing to Love Haiti

In a course of unexpected yet welcomed events, I am excited to say that I am preparing to head off to Haiti next week!

I found out about a mission trip to serve Haitian children in an orphanage, and my heart leaped outside of my chest at the thought of being able to serve and love them. I’m listening to my heart… I’ll be honest and say…


Stewart: We’ve Got New Disciples!

I’m a part of the Disciples of the Word household here on campus, and I must say that being a part of it has been one of the biggest gifts I have been blessed with while studying here at Franciscan.


Stewart: My Beautiful Campus

This past week, we had quite a bit of snow. So much snow that we actually got a snow day! The roads were essentially a sheet of ice, and so it was necessary to cancel classes, especially for the safety of those students, faculty, and staff who have to drive to the University… so I guess you could say it was a snow and ice day.


Stewart: Hitting the Floor Running

The Neglected Diseases/medicinal chemistry research team has certainly hit the floor running. We have reactions going day in and day out–literally. Most of our reactions actually end up going overnight so we can achieve a good yield. It’s really awesome to be doing science we enjoy that has a greater purpose: our work is for the poor.


Stewart: Chemistry: Making an Impact

The term “multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis” (MDR TB) is a term that I’ve become rather familiar with while studying here at Franciscan. MDR TB is a type of tuberculosis that doesn’t respond to the major TB-killing drugs we have today. What’s the bigger picture, though?


Stewart: And we’re back!

The semester has started and we are off to a great start!

I finished up my Christmas break by going on a bit of a road trip—1400 miles from Illinois to Michigan to Ohio to Philadelphia, PA! I was able to visit friends and family along the way, and it was an awesome time (particularly those moments when I wasn’t being chased by snow storm Hercules!).


Stewart: Shadowing a Neurosurgeon

A couple months ago, Dr. Rohde, professor of Chemistry and my research advisor, asked me to talk a little bit about my research experience with his Organic Chemistry I class. While I definitely shared a bit about what I have done under his watch while at FUS, I also shared a couple things that I wish I would have heard a couple years ago. I encouraged the students in his class, which consists of predominantly pre-health students, to spend time with the profession they would like to go into.


Finals Done and Goodbyes

It has been one crazy semester, that is for sure! Wow! Today, I took my last cell physiology exam and I’ll be honest: it feels very good to be done. I absolutely loved that class, but it is time for a break. I think I performed well on all my examinations. In the past week and a half, I’ve also turned in five lab reports. I am thoroughly exhausted… but it is good exhaustion. I feel accomplished and I know that I performed the best I could… and my best will be enough!



We are in the midst of finals week and everyone is working away, and hard! All my friends are feeling the pressures of their classes ending, and thankfully our environment is very conductive to getting great, productive work done. The picture above shows me outlining the life cycle of malaria within the human body, particularly our red blood cells.


Stewart: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, all! A little late, but still heartfelt!

It’s been a wonderful week celebrating the holidays with family and friends. After a cell physiology and quite a challenging microbiology exam nearly back to back, my 9-hour drive home to the Chicago area was challenging but worth it.


Stewart: My Brain Hurts

I’ll be honest, my brain hurts. I just got out of my third cell physiology exam for the semester. The past few weeks we’ve been talking all about DNA. Lots and lots of DNA. What did we cover? I was expected to be able to address the following points in excruciating detail (this isn’t the test, just topics):


Stewart: Fall Break!

What a month October was… wow! Two cell physiology exams, two microbiology exams, and giving my senior seminar in the midst of those kept me more than busy. I will say that I was pretty depleted at the end of those 4-5 weeks of some pretty intense, near nonstop studying. It was a good depletion, though—I gave everything I had for my studies and I tried my best to make my work and studies my prayer.


Stewart: Making Beer in the Biology Lab (And Getting Credit For It!)

Cell Physiology Lab has probably been the most exciting and interesting lab I’ve ever had at Franciscan. In lecture, we study the cell. The lecture portion is really intense: it’s a 400 level course and we just fly through complicated material every class. The lab portion is essential and we take what we are learning in lecture and get to see it happening right before our eyes. It’s awesome!


Stewart: Paul Farmer Inspires Me

In order to get a degree in biology from Franciscan you have to give a seminar on some topic in biology. The topic of the seminar changes each semester, but this semester’s topic was a big departure from previous semesters. Previously the seminar would be on diseases and epidemics, water life, and other expected topics.


Stewart: Midterms!

Wow! It has been a crazy week and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down! For everybody, biology majors and everyone else, the month of October is jam packed with exams, due dates, and deadlines. For me, I just took another microbiology exam this past week and am finishing up the preparations for my seminar next week.


Stewart: Taking a break… Household Retreat!

After a challenging week filled with long lab reports, spearheading research, and taking 400 level biology exams, it was time to take a breather from science. Thankfully, my household, the Disciples of the Word, went on retreat and I had the opportunity to lead the guys for the weekend.


Stewart: Study Study Study!

Lots of studying going on these days!

This past Saturday night, a few of my friends and I continued to prepare for a test we took this past Tuesday morning. It’s for our 400 level Biology class, Cell Physiology, and it lives up to the past students’ hype: this class is hard.


Stewart: FIWH: Medicinal Chemistry Research Back Full Swing!

Classes, labs and research are most definitely back up and have been in full swing for a few weeks now! Right now, I am synthesizing the “core” of the molecule I am studying. What you see in that picture, although not too clearly, is me taking some water and adding it to the synthesized core (yellow, in my left hand).


Stewart: Plants: Water or Coffee?

This next week or so in my Cell Physiology class, we are studying metabolism in plants. My group and I set out to see if we could increase the efficiency or rate that photosynthesis occurs in our plant.


Stewart: Christ-Centered Leadership

During the opening weekend, Dr. John Bergsma took the initiative of helping the students really start off on the right foot by offering a talk on Christ-Centered Leadership. It was a moving and empowering talk for everyone who attended.