Summer undergraduate chemistry research kicks off with library lesson

By Tien Nguyen, Department of Chemistry
Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2015

Students in the 2015 Summer Undergraduate Research Program for Diversity in Chemistry and the 2015 NSF-Funded Summer REU program

This summer, undergraduates from around the country have traveled to Princeton University to conduct scientific research in an academic setting as part of multiple programs on campus. Programs within the chemistry department include the Leach Summer Scholars Program, the Summer Undergraduate Research Program for Diversity in Chemistry and the NSF-Funded Summer REU program.

One often-overlooked aspect of research is the importance of literature searches and background research. This week, Anne Langley, the Head Librarian of the Science and Technology Libraries, introduced the students to the fundamentals of library research in a short course at Lewis Library.

The Leach Summer Scholars Program is a competitive application program for Princeton University freshmen and sophomores who intend to major in chemistry. The program gives students an opportunity to pursue original research to see if that choice will be a good fit. The agenda for the program includes field trips to local scientific facilities, such as Firmenich in Plainsboro, guest speakers, training and experience with research poster design and presentation at a poster session, library resource training, and research talks by chemistry seniors.

Princeton Leach Program and summer undergraduate research students, pictured from top right: Dr. Henry L. Gingrich (Director), An Chu ‘17, Logan Blaine ‘18, Alan Chen ‘18, Summer Ramsay-Burrough ‘17, Arman Odabas ‘17, Isao Anzai ‘17, Jake Essman ‘18, Elizabeth Stanley ‘18, Madison Parry '18, Blake Feldman ‘17, Chris Habermann ‘17, Bruce Culbertson ‘17 and Chris King ‘17

The Department of Chemistry also hosts an NSF-Funded REU Summer Program in biophysics. This Research Experience for Undergraduates opportunity is restricted to non-Princeton undergraduates. REU students selected from schools with little or no research opportunity spend one summer in Princeton conducting research with participating faculty representing a wide range of departments. The common theme is the application of experimental, theoretical, or conceptual tools from the physical or mathematical sciences or from engineering to solve contemporary problems in biology.

In 2014, the Department of Chemistry inaugurated its first summer undergraduate research program for non-Princeton students from all over the country who identify with groups that are underrepresented in chemistry research fields. The Summer Undergraduate Research Program for Diversity in Chemistry is designed to encourage a more diverse community of students and researchers pursuing careers in the chemical sciences. This nine-week summer program provides students with the opportunity to work with distinguished Princeton chemistry faculty. Each student carries out a summer research project within the field of his or her mentor and presents the project at the end of the summer as part of the department-wide Summer Undergraduate Poster Session.