Gifts in Action -
MEET MARK PYTOSH
How does a background in chemistry translate to a position on Wall Street? There certainly aren’t many similarities between the two subjects, the work environments, or the skills needed to perform the work. But for Mark Pytosh, the managing director and head of the global industrial group at Lehman Brothers in New York, the study of chemistry has provided something very valuable that he uses everyday in business.
“The field of chemistry is very challenging,” says Pytosh. “Intellectually, it pushed me very hard and taught me how to think analytically. Those skills of analytical thinking are ones I certainly use in the business environment.” It’s an environment he’s been a part of since graduating from the U of I in 1986 with his chemistry degree. A native of Kankakee, Illinois, Pytosh began with pre-med aspirations but, along the way, completed coursework in economics, accounting, finance and statistics. This interest, combined with encouragement from Professor David Paisley, led him to explore working on Wall Street.
WHY HE GAVE
His success in business and his loyalty to the Department of Chemistry prompted Pytosh to establish a fund to assist talented students.
“The overall education at the U of I is excellent, and chemistry, in particular, is a high-quality department,” says Pytosh. “I was fortunate to have several mentors who were there for me as an undergraduate. This, plus the intellectual challenge, helped make my experience a very rewarding one. Through this fund, I hope to reward the dedication of today’s chemistry students and assist them in meeting their goals.”
HOW HE GAVE
The first awards were merit scholarships for undergraduates, and now, the Pytosh Chemistry Fund provides fellowships to graduate students and supports the activities of the Chemistry Learning Center.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
Erin Van Brussel, a dedicated student of chemistry, benefited from Mark Pytosh’s generosity. Erin hopes to become a surgeon or emergency room physician and her work and commitment both inside and outside the classroom have been instrumental in her success. According to Erin, “The Mark Pytosh scholarship was an extremely motivational honor that rewards hard work and dedication. It inspired me to not only pursue chemistry as a foundation for medical school but also to research and teach in the chemistry department.”
Story courtesy LAS.