We found out recently that Cesar Saucedo, a Junior Chemistry major, won 1st place in Oral presentations at the Louise Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) spring symposium in STEM. Cesar’s talk was titled “Electrochemical Behavior of Group 6 Metal Carbonyls for CO2 Reduction.” Congratulations Cesar!
LSAMP is an organization that supports minority participation in Science and Technology, and they can fund students performing research in chemistry. They have a yearly spring symposium where students from several Illinois colleges and universities come to present their research in the form of posters and oral presentations. If you are interested in being involved in the LSAMP program at DePaul, contact Victoria Simek at the STEM center.
James Coy-Dibley was a student that many from the Department interacted with even though he wasn’t a chemistry major. He did well in his courses and eventually became a chemistry tutor. Interestingly, James decided to publish a workbook of chemistry material based on his experience as a tutor. Our chair, Dr. Lihua Jin, asked him a few questions about his time at DePaul recently and here are his answers:
1) What has an education at DePaul done for you?
An education from DePaul University provided me with a seamless combination of academic progress and personal achievement, fueled by both the dedication of outstanding faculty and the plethora of opportunities the university offers its students. From day one, the emphasis of DePaul’s faculty focuses on their students’ success, both in and out of the classroom. At DePaul, it is not just a matter of ensuring that the student thrives within the classes and university setting, but, equally, that the student earns a degree and gains experience that will prepare him or her into a successful career after DePaul. The chemistry department at DePaul embodied this approach, with the dedicated professors providing me with both a fantastic education as well as the several opportunities that propelled me to where I am today.
2) What opportunities have you taken advantage of at DePaul/in the chemistry department that has been critical for your growth as a student/tutor?
Although Chicago is a big city, we don’t often have a lot of chemistry conferences in Chicago for students to attend (the ACS National Meeting hasn’t been in Chicago for a long time, but it will be back in 2022). However, there are opportunities out there. We wanted to let you know about some upcoming conference opportunities in Chicago.
In April, the annual Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (CAURS) will be hosted by Roosevelt University. It’s on Saturday April 29th, and registration is free. Students from DePaul present every year and you should talk to your research advisor about giving a poster or oral presentation. If you haven’t given a poster presentation at a conference, this is a very good place to do it the first time. You need to register with an abstract online, and the last day to do so is March 31st. We hope to see you there!
Pittcon is coming to Chicago March 5-9 at McCormick Place. Pittcon is a more industry/instrumentation/technical-focused conference compared to others and would be a good conference to attend if you are interested in a technical position in industry. They have an employment bureau as a part of the registration to help you find potential employers. Student (undergraduate and graduate) registration is $50.
Winter break is a great time to work on research. If you are interested in joining a lab, its also a good time to start research in a lab.
One of the things that happened this winter break was a trip to Argonne National Laboratory to use the Advanced Photon Source (APS). Dr. Grice, in collaboration with Dr. Griffin and Dr. Jin, has been working on projects that needed some experiments that can only be done at the APS. Anyone can apply to use the resources at Argonne, so Dr. Grice put in an application and was given “Beam Time”.
What is “Beam Time”? It’s research time at an X-ray beam that comes off of the synchrotron, which is a giant circular tube the size of a large building filled with fast-moving electrons that emit X-rays. The focused X-rays from a synchrotron can be tuned and directed to a wide variety of very powerful experiments.
Dr. Grice and Dr. Griffin took four DePaul students, a mixture of undergraduates and masters students, to the APS to perform an experiment called EXAFS – Extended X-ray absorption fine structure. They worked around the clock for 3 days straight collecting data at the beam line. After the data is processed, it should be able to help describe the three-dimensional solution-phase structures of the compounds they are studying, something that can’t be done without synchrotron radiation!
Getting beam time is a relatively rare occurrence. A researcher has to have a well-planned out set of experiments and the application process is highly competitive.
However, if you are interested in doing research at a national lab, there are other ways to get involved. There is a Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program, and applications for summer 2017 close on January 13th. Argonne participates in this program, as do many other national labs around the US.
We are proud to have our DePaul Chemistry students participating in the 35th National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium this summer! The symposium occurs every other year and has been running since 1948. Chemistry major Courtney Kent presented a poster based on her work in Dr. Karver’s Lab. She has been synthesizing new analogs of the Karver Lab’s triaminopyrimidine inhibitors and has screened them for activity against inflammatory caspases, a group of enzymes associated with immune response and autoimmune inflammatory disorders.
Here are Courtney (left) and Dr. Karver (right) with Courtney’s poster at the symposium:
Courtney was supported this summer by the Undergraduate Summer Research Program (USRP), a great way for students to do summer research at DePaul and receive support for doing so. If you are a DePaul student interested in research, keep it in mind for next summer!
Cate Shamblen from Dr. Caitlin Karver’s lab and Lauren Bejcek of Dr. Paul Vadola’s lab (pictured above), both graduating seniors, presented their research. A total of 15 undergraduates and one graduate student received one or more of the 15 endowed and one departmental Scholarships totaling $43,542, the most ever awarded by the department. The department also presented 12 different chemistry awards as well as outstanding teaching assistant awards to 14 undergraduates and 3 graduate students.
Since 2015, we have added an alumni speech to the annual Symposium. This year, Mary Hannon (BS (2013) and MS (2014)) of Stepan Company, Northfield, IL, spoke to the students and faculty. Her talk was titled “Life After DePaul: Applying Your Degree in Industry and More” and you can find the attachment here: Mary Hannon DePaul Speech 2016.
At the end of the academic year, the invites inivites the graduating seniors and MS students to a graduation party so they can celebrate with faculty before they go off to their next great endeavors. We all had a great time and are sad to see our students go, but we know they will be doing wonderful things.