August 01, 2013

Chemistry program benefits high school students

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Future chemistry stars from the area recently concluded their work with faculty members at Southern Illinois University Carbondale as part of a summer workshop sponsored by a national chemical group.

SIU Carbondale students and faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry played host this summer to Project SEED. The program is administered by the American Chemical Society and is designed to help economically disadvantaged students to learn more about chemistry. It offers a unique opportunity for talented local high school students, who spend the summer working full-time in the laboratory with SIU Carbondale faculty mentors.

The two students selected for the program this summer each received a fellowship,

renewable for a second summer if they remain eligible.  Both students this year are repeat students.  They are:

• Brooke Nosovitsky, Carbondale Community High School, mentor Michael Lydy, professor of zoology.

• Brian Suarez, Carbondale Community High School, mentor Colleen Scott, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

The program gives students opportunities for hands-on research experience and to work with faculty mentors, said Gabriela Pérez-Alvarado, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.  She noted that this program helps the University reach out to the community and engage local high school students in activities that will enhance their participation in future scientific disciplines.

The programs are part of Project SEED, which stands for "Summer Experience for Economically Disadvantaged," and the Summer Research Program for High School Students. Students in both programs receive fellowship awards and the students in the American Chemical Society-sponsored program are eligible to compete for ACS scholarships only available to SEED participant students.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, along with the College of Science and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, also sponsor the event.