NSF Award Funds Research Program for Undergraduates
The Encouraging Students in Science program focuses on chemical applications in the areas of energy and materials research.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $314,900 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program grant to chemistry professors David Paul and Julie Stenken.
The U of A program, Encouraging Students in Science, was chosen for the competitive REU grant because of the university's strength of faculty and long-standing emphasis on placing undergraduates in laboratories where they work directly with tenured and tenure-track faculty.
Focused on chemical applications in the areas of energy and materials research, the program prepares students for the rigors of graduate school in all areas of science, technology, engineering and math.
The award furthers the university's rich tradition of providing hands-on research experience for undergraduates and encourages sophomores and juniors majoring in chemistry and biochemistry from universities all over the United States to pursue careers in fundamental research, said Paul, associate professor of analytical chemistry.
"The University of Arkansas has long, rich tradition of facilitating undergraduate research," said Paul. "Students participating in this program gain real, practical experience in the lab, the kind of work they can expect in graduate school."
The NSF award furthers the university’s rich tradition of providing hands-on research experience for undergraduates.
As part of the program, university faculty members provide laboratory research opportunities for 10 students in several groups during the 10-week summer program. Students are given the opportunity to present their research at a meeting within the department and write a summary of their work in a journal format prepared for their home institution. Students are also given opportunities to present results at national meetings. They receive one credit hour for completing these tasks.
"The opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in a research experience with university faculty is a strong enhancement to their academic experience," said Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development. "This broadening enriches the students' education and can show them potential career paths beyond their undergraduate degree."
The U of A's Encouraging Students in Science program places special emphasis on the recruitment of women and minority groups traditionally underrepresented in these academic fields. A new, unique feature of the program is a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest scientific organization, to recruit disabled students.
The effort to recruit underrepresented groups works in concert with the George Washington Carver Research Program, Paul said. Sponsored by the U of A Graduate School and International Education, the Carver program, among other goals, seeks to increase the racial diversity of the U of A graduate and professional study body.
The Encouraging Students in Science program runs for three years, from June 2018 to August 2020.
David Paul, associate professor
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