Chemistry Majors Selected for Competitive Research Program
April 14, 2021 (Jackson, Miss.) - Four Belhaven University chemistry majors were selected for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), a highly competitive research program. Students from around the country apply, but only a few are selected every year.
“These programs are competitive across the entire country, this is the first time we've had four students to all get accepted to the program,” said Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Brandon Magers. “It is even more difficult to get accepted into a program this year because of COVID-19.Some programs have decided to cancel, so there were fewer spots available than usual.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding the summer internship programs at multiple universities and locations across the country. Participating students will work directly under a Ph.D. research advisor for 10 weeks, live on campus, and receive a stipend of $5000 or more.
Karlee McKinney, a senior chemistry and sports medicine major, and Madison McGuire, a sophomore chemistry and biological sciences major, will both be researching renewable energy and agricultural fertilizers at the University of Mississippi. Rebecca Ayres is a sophomore chemistry major and is conducting research with the Center for Nanoscale Materials and Biointegration at University of Alabama at Birmingham. Laela Evans, a sophomore chemistry and biological sciences major, will be researching “Sensing and Assembly Based on Non-covalent Interactions” at the University of Southern Mississippi.
“REU programs are excellent ways for students to get research experience,” observed Magers.“Students that participate learn what it is like to work in a graduate level lab. We do research with students here at Belhaven, but having a broad range of experience will only help students become better scientists and get into graduate programs, professional schools, and the jobs they want.”
McKinney and McGuire plan to go to graduate school and eventually get a Ph.D. with the hopes of becoming full time researchers. Ayres and Evans both want to go to medical school after they graduate from Belhaven University.