Good chemistry

Dual chemistry and music major Ben Kressbach is thriving at Wright State

Ben Kressbach, who is originally from San Antonio, found the support he needed at Wright State to pursue his passion in chemistry and music.

Ben Kressbach and Wright State University have developed good chemistry.

Kressbach is a dual major in chemistry and music with a minor in biochemistry. Not only is Wright State good for him, but he is good for Wright State thanks to his involvement around campus.

What makes his story more unusual is that as a high school student in his native San Antonio, Kressbach had never heard of Wright State until he did a little research.

“In high school, chemistry was one of my favorite subjects,” Kressbach said. “I’ve always had a passion for a lot of different sciences.”

He said when he began researching universities, he found that pursuing a general chemistry degree would allow him to take classes he was most interested in and get the background he wanted.

There also was music. He began playing piano in elementary school and moved to percussion in middle school.

“I’ve been playing percussion ever since. I fell in love with it. I don’t ever see myself giving up percussion,” he said.

Kressbach wanted to find a university where he could study chemistry and music and found Wright State.

Looking up schools with strong percussion programs, he checked the Percussive Arts Society website, where he learned that Wright State students had performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and won the society’s International Percussion Ensemble Competition.

“I had never heard of Wright State,” he said.

But other winners were universities with prestigious percussion programs, so to him that spoke well of Wright State’s program.

“I like that Wright State is student-centric,” Kressbach said. “At other universities, I was told that I couldn’t major in both, that I had to pick one or the other. At Wright State, I was told frankly that it was possible to do both. It would be a lot of work, but possible. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.”

He said that even for an out-of-state student like him, Wright State was affordable.

As a Wright State student, Kressbach has served as a residential academic ambassador, helping others living in the residence halls with adjusting to academic and campus life. Kressbach, who lives in an honors residence hall, and his fellow ambassadors work to establish relationships among themselves and the Wright State community.

As an honors student, he is a member of the Graduate and Honors Student Advisory Board of the College of Graduate Programs and Honors Studies. In this role, he helps with student-led initiatives.

Kressbach is also a president’s ambassador, representing the Office of the President at events.

“It’s fun and educational,” he said. “We meet a lot of interesting people. It also provides a glimpse into how the administration works.”

Expected to graduate in December, Kressbach wants to go to graduate school and pursue a career in research in biochemistry or a related field

“I’m open to going where I need to go, but I know people here now and I would like to stay in this area if I can,” he said.

He has no plans to give up music.

“I really enjoy playing in an ensemble,” he said. “And I want to continue with my composition efforts. I’ve written a couple percussion pieces. I’m still in the learning phase. I find it fun and fulfilling.”

Wright State has already fulfilled many of the hopes he had when he first considered enrolling.

“I don’t think if I went to any other school I would’ve had these opportunities,” he said.

He has been highly involved with the percussion studio, performing mostly on marimba, and has helped teach percussion to students at Northeastern High School in Springfield.

“I’ve been able to teach, perform and explore different avenues,” he said. “Wright State is providing me the flexibility to do that.”

Kressbach said his relationships with the faculty, especially Eric Fossum, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and his lab research advisor, and Jerry Noble, director of percussion, have helped him grow personally.

“They’re very student-focused, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with them and for everything I’ve been able to be a part of as a result,” Kressbach said. “I wanted a place where I can take the initiative and put in the effort to make it all happen. Wright State has given me a platform to do that.”

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