Feb. 7, 1997

Chemistry department earns fourth-year NSF grant

The KU chemistry department has received its fourth consecutive three-year Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant - about $159,000 for three years beginning with summer 1997 - provides funds to bring 10 students each summer to the Lawrence campus to conduct full-time, quality research under the supervision of a faculty member active in research.

"The purpose of the award is to expose the undergraduates to the excitement of research at a critical time in their lives," said K. Barbara Schowen, professor of chemistry and Research Experiences for Undergraduates program director. "The aim is to encourage talented individuals into research careers."

The program is open to undergraduates from accredited four-year colleges in Kansas and 17 Midwestern states, including Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Minnesota and Colorado. Emphasis is placed on institutions without research facilities.

Students in the program are presented with an already well-defined project. Faculty research directors monitor the progress of each student.

"If the research project is successfully completed, the students try to get their findings published," Schowen said. "For a student planning on further study in graduate school, getting published is at least as important as having good grades."

Under the program, students receive 10 weeks of full-time research experience in chemistry.

"There is a well-recognized need for highly trained research scientists for the 21st century," Schowen said. "Chemists, in particular, will be needed to solve central problems in disciplines such as biology, environment and materials science."

The program informs undergraduate students about careers in chemistry and encourages them to enter those careers.

"There's a lot of competition for these grants," Schowen said. "The university is very appreciative of the program and sees this as an important way to advertise our research strengths and, in the bargain, to attract quality graduate students to Lawrence."


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