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REU Site: Research in Chemistry at WVU
The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded REU Site: Research in Chemistry at West Virginia University (Award # CHE-1852369) has been refunded by the Division of Chemistry. Read below and click HERE to apply.
This REU Site provides participants (10 participants per year) with ten-weeks of summer research experiences that are intellectually stimulating, have societal relevance, and improve participants’ research self-efficacy by rapidly moving participants from dependence to a relatively independent status. Site objectives are to:
- provide authentic research opportunities for students majoring in chemistry or biochemistry and attending predominately undergraduate institutions;
- involve participants in research projects that benefit society, either directly or indirectly;
- improve participant understanding of the research enterprise (from project inception, attainment of funding, to research completion, and dissemination of results); and
- retain participants within the chemistry/biochemistry major and encourage them to continue to post-baccalaureate opportunities.
REU Program Dates:
May 17-July 24, 2020 (10 weeks in duration)
REU Site Location?
Who Can Apply?
REU participants must be/have:
- citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the U.S. or its territories;
- undergraduates enrolled at an institution of higher education (students from community colleges and primarily undergraduate institutions are encouraged to apply);
- college freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors as of the fall 2020 semester;
- enrolled in chemistry or biochemistry undergraduate degree programs (baccalaureate or associate and part-time or full-time; pre-majors also considered); and
- grade point average of 2.8 or above in STEM undergraduate coursework.
Students from groups underrepresented within the chemistry and biochemistry disciplines (e.g., women, underrepresented minorities, first generation students or those with disabilities), veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, and students from socioeconomically depressed regions (e.g., Appalachia) are especially encouraged to apply.
REU Participant Benefits?
Stipend of $5,000 ($500/week for 10-weeks), lodging, meal expenses, travel reimbursement to/from REU Site (limited to ~$250/participant) and comprehensive training to move participants toward intellectual and research independence.
Completed applications include:
- online application, including short essay (250-500 words, see Advice below);
- official or unofficial verifiable undergraduate transcripts;
- one-page resume; and
- a recommendation letter (that includes telephone contact information) from a faculty member within your discipline or from a research mentor (preferably from a faculty member at your home institution) which addresses your potential/abilities/motivation for engaging in research.
Any offer is contingent upon successful completion of a reference check (i.e., phone conversation with recommender) and may include telephone interview of the applicant.
Advice to Student Applicants
Before beginning the online Student Application, we suggest you take some time to fashion your short essay so that you can spell check, proofread, and obtain feedback on it before submission. In your short essay (250-500 words), you should state your motivation in applying to the REU program (i.e., Professionally speaking, what do you hope to get out of/learn from the program? How can you contribute to research ongoing at WVU? What do you bring to the table? What area(s) of research are of interest to you and why are you interested in those specific areas and, more generally, in scientific research? Why should you be awarded a REU appointment this summer?). A good essay is important! Use the “Personal Statement” tips available at the WVU Career Services Center and at ASPIRE.
The priority deadline for the online application and receipt of the recommendation letter is 11:59 p.m. on February 7, 2020. Priority will be given to applications completed by/before the Feb. 7 date and the application portal is expected to close at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 7. Completed applications may be reviewed and offers made prior to the Feb. 7, 2020 application closing date.
Available Research Projects?
Participants will receive an integrated experience where research and education are concurrent priorities. Available research projects (in summer 2019) addressed fundamental questions related to the chemistry of health, including for example, the development of therapeutic drugs for detection or treatment of diseases (Alzheimer’s, cancer); and catalysis in chemistry, including for example, the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals using sustainable and biocompatible methods, and examining the combustion process, both experimentally and theoretically, in order to reduce environmentally harmful emissions. Projects will focus on the potential of research to benefit society both directly and indirectly in the fields of health care, forensics/criminology, energy, sustainability, and transportation. REU participants will engage in joint efforts with expert faculty advisers to enrich their educational experience. Read about each faculty member for more information on available research projects. Research projects may vary from year to year and will be updated as needed.
REU participants carry out full-time research on a chemistry/biochemistry focused research project. Research will be supplemented by training in:
- general topics of basic laboratory safety and chemical management, animal compliance in research, and scientific ethics;
- library skills specific to the chemistry discipline (e.g., use of ChemDraw, SciFinder Scholar, Web of Science);
- basic instrumentation for chemical structure determination (e.g., crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, surface imaging techniques);
- research project presentations by faculty advisers;
- oral communication and poster presentation skills; and
- career building (resumes, interviewing, elevator speech).
Other components include:
- career mentoring by speakers from academia, industry, and governmental laboratory facilities;
- peer mentoring by current graduate students;
- scientific tour (e.g., National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or IBM's Allegany Ballistics Laboratory);
- workshops on for example graduate school, career building, STEM outreach and scientific communication, prestigious scholarships;
- hands-on science outreach to K-6 children at local summer program (2019 outreach); and
- culminating judged, poster presentation at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium attended by 117 student presenters and 250+ faculty, administrators, graduate students, and members of the general public.
Team Building Activities?
To facilitate formation of the REU cohort, REU participants will engage in team building activities biweekly on weekends. The state of West Virginia and the Laurel Highlands area of Western Pennsylvania offer a multitude of outdoor recreational activities within one-hour drive of WVU. Past participants have engaged in:
- biking on the Mon River Rail-Trail;
- team escape from a local Escape Room adventure;
- hiking at Coopers Rock State Forest;
- team-building ropes course (high and low ropes elements) at the WVU Challenge Course;
- caving at Laurel Caverns; and
- white water rafting at Ohiopyle State Park on the Youghiogheny River Gorge.