This chemistry REU program at Syracuse University (SU) will include at least 15 students per year in 2009-2011, with 10 funded by NSF and 5 or more funded by SU or SU-associated NSF or NY State grants including LSAMP, AGEP, McNair, or CSTEP. The entire Department of Chemistry faculty will participate as mentors in this ten-week summer program, which is designed to maximize laboratory time while providing valuable scientific and social experiences outside the laboratory. Students will participate in weekly luncheon meetings, in which they will first hear faculty presentations and later present their own research; an interactive ethics seminar; a chemistry careers workshop; and hands-on workshops in both computational chemistry and glassblowing. In addition to their oral presentations, students will also present posters at a campus-wide poster session and contribute articles to a CD compilation. The additional inclusion of 11-12 Austrian undergraduate students (supported by the Technical University of Graz in an iREU exchange program) will provide significant international exposure to all participants, and the participation of high school teachers (supported by SU) will also bring important new perspectives to the program, from which all participants will benefit. With support from LSAMP, AGEP, McNair, and CSTEP programs at SU, minority students will be well represented in the program.
The Syracuse University Department of Chemistry, with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, has provided summer research opportunities for 88 undergraduate students from 2009 to 2011. The Syracuse University program, running continuously since 2000, includes students from across the United States, as well as students from universities in Graz, Austria through an international exchange program. The U.S. students were supported by NSF, the university, individual faculty grants, and several minority inclusion programs, and underrepresented minority students represented 29% of these participants. The U.S. students were selected from over 300 applicants each summer. In addition to the student participants, two high school teachers were included in the program, supported by the university. Participants in this program are each paired with a faculty mentor whose interests reasonably match their own, and they spend the summer doing research on their own project with the guidance of the faculty mentor and members of his or her research group. This experience helps the students in several ways. It exposes them to the methods of scientific research and broadens their classroom-based education. It gives them a taste of graduate school, helping them to decide whether to choose this path while preparing them for it. It demonstrates the importance of interpersonal communication in science and provides them with good practice as well as contacts in the field. The Syracuse University program, while centered around the research experience, also includes vibrant educational and social components. Students are welcomed and say farewell at picnics. In between, participants assemble for lunch each Tuesday to hear about other chemistry projects and, near the end of the summer, to present their own. They participate in ethics and career workshops. They each present a poster to the campus community. They try their hands at glassblowing. They do a ropes course, go canoeing, play kickball, attend ice cream socials, and take weekend trips together. The inclusion of the Austrian students makes it an international experience for all. The university keeps in touch with past participants and follows their continuing education and entry into the chemistry profession or whatever else they decide to do.