Chemistry REU Seeks to Connect Undergraduate Student Researchers

Photo of chemistry students. Eleven college students will complete the chemistry department’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program this summer.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Eleven college students, including two from the University of South Dakota, will complete the chemistry department’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program this summer. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program helps connect undergraduate students from all over the country with research opportunities.

“Students work one-on-one with a faculty mentor for ten weeks during the summer,” said Andrew Sykes, chair of the Department of Chemistry. “This experience shows them what it is like to be a chemist and hopefully reinforces their interest in chemistry. They work with state-of-the-art instrumentation and begin to work independently on a research project.”

Research opportunities offered fall within the themes of photodynamics and nanomaterials, areas integrally linked to issues of national importance such as energy and remediation of the environment.

“Students work on a wide variety of organic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry research projects. Some students are investigating security printing applications using upconversion nanoparticles. Others are working on functional fluorinated materials for new battery technology. Others work on computational chemistry projects using super-computers, catalysis reactions involving ‘nanoreactors’ and environmental sensors for heavy metal ions,” said Sykes.

In addition to the one-on-one mentoring, students are offered educational workshops, tours of local chemistry-related industries, a weekly seminar series and social activities, including a canoe trip down a stretch of the Missouri River.

The Department of Chemistry supports an additional REU program for undergraduate students through the Center for Security Printing and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology (SPACT). It supports two USD undergraduate student researchers. For additional information, please visit the Department of Chemistry’s REU website.

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