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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.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News