This award from the Division of Chemistry (CHE) and the Department of Defense (ASSURE Program) supports a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site led by Geraldine Richmond at the University of Oregon. The research projects supported in this site are in areas of environmental chemistry. Undergraduates will be recruited to this site from Primarily Undergraduate Institutions. The site will support twelve students per summer in a ten week program. A sample of the projects that undergraduates would work on include: (1) the spectroscopic and thermodynamic study of oil dispersions at the oil/water interface; (2) the synthesis and study of nanostructured films for advanced photovoltaic materials; (3) the green synthesis of functionalized inorganic nanoparticles; (4) the development of new catalysts for nitrogen fixation; (5) the use of "ionic junctions" in conducting polymers for use in solar energy conversion; and (6) the development of new supramolecular methods for chelation of hazardous metals. In addition to conducting research during the summer, the students participating in this program will participate in a number of professional development activities, including a discussion of ethics in science, via a book club, and meetings with other professionals (businessmen, lawyers, etc.) to discuss how issues of environment impact business and law/policy.

Young scientists need exposure to modern research methods and tools as part of their training. This REU site aims to provide cutting-edge research training in the chemical sciences, with a strong emphasis on environmental science. The research projects are in diverse areas of chemistry, many of which will have an impact in areas of national need. The diverse student cohort participating in research at this site will be well-prepared for graduate school, and eventual employment as part of the country's technical workforce.

Project Report

is tailored for science majors in chemistry, physics, and materials science from predominately undergraduate institutions (PUIs) who want to conduct forefront interdisciplinary research in an environmentally related area, while learning about the state of current environmental technologies, career opportunities for the future, and policy and political issues that also influence environmental progress. The students are given the opportunity to be involved in mentoring opportunities and learn educational activities involving environmental issues that they can take back to their home academic institutions and local schools. This program has a unique aspect in the interweaving of the physical science disciplines, particularly at the research level. The research projects offered reflect an interdisciplinary approach to science that is embedded in the local culture, an approach that is also essential for solving environmental issues that are truly multidisciplinary. Students can choose to work on any of the offered research projects, regardless of their undergraduate major. The majority of participating students are from predominately undergraduate institutions that lack research opportunities. The cross-discipline nature of the research provides the students with an opportunity they have yet to experience. Over the past 27 years of continuous funding for this program, there have been close to 300 student participants, 39 within the past 3 years funding period. Career building workshops and mentoring activities provide training and practice in transferable skills essential for success in the next stage of education and employment opportunities. Verbal presentation of scientific work, GRE preparation workshop and professional skills and negotiation workshops impacted the students, noted in the evaluations at the conclusion of the program. 100% of the students agreed the program had an impact on the way they perceived their future in the sciences and over 90% said it solidified their decision to go to graduate school.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Chemistry (CHE)
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Michelle Bushey
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University of Oregon Eugene
United States
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