In our last post, we talked about research collaborations between DePaul Faculty and other researchers around the US and the World. In this post, we wanted to focus in to the city of Chicago and local areas. Part of DePaul’s mision is to engage Chicago and use the resources of this great city in our teaching and research, and the Chemistry Department is no exception!
We have a strong connection to our local community here in the city of Chicago. Below are some highlights of recent and current programs.
- Dr. Kyle Grice does outreach at DePaul Prep, a private Catholic high school in the area. He is also ACS Science coach, working with a local high school chemistry teacher. Through this program, the high school program received funding for supplies and equipment, and Dr. Grice also provides guidance and feedback on lab experiments.
- Dr. Timothy French has launched a “Discover Chicago” course (incoming first year students take Discover or Explore Chicago courses in ther first quarter) entitled “Chicago: Food, Science, and Society”. The course will run as part of the Pathways Honors program in the coming fall quarter. Dr. French also works with the Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, a CPS high school in the North Park neighborhood. He works with them on judging science fairs and preparing their science Olympiad team.
- Several faculty members collaborate with researchers at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS). These projects also involve DePaul student researchers working on the projects.
- DePaul chemistry students go to the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (CAURS) every year to present their research. If you are a student, consider going next year!
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.
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.
In addition, Argonne National Laboratory’s APS is one of the sites for the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, consider applying! The deadline is January 23rd!
In addition to our undergraduate degrees in chemistry (BS, BA, and Chemistry Minors are available), we have several options for students interested in a Masters in Chemistry:
- Standard MS – Thesis and non-thesis tracks
- MS in Polymer and Coating Science – Thesis and non-thesis tracks
- Combined BS/MS for DePaul Undergraduate Students.
Our MS courses are offered at night because we recognized that MS students may be working during the day as their take their courses. Many MS students also TA labs or tutor students at DePaul. Several of our MS students do research in various research groups in the department. If they are on the thesis track, they write a thesis and give a thesis defense at the end of their time here.
Our MS students come from a variety of locations and backgrounds, and go on to get PhDs in chemistry, go into chemical industry, or go into a variety of other jobs such as teaching at local community colleges.
Applications to our program are accepted three times a year: August 1st for Autumn Quarter, December 1st for Winter Quarter, and March 1st for Spring Quarter.
For more information, check out the graduate program page on the Department of Chemistry Website.
You can also come and ask questions at the quarterly DePaul Graduate Program Open House events. The next one is this Thursday, October 13th, from 5-7 pm in room 120 in the Student Center on the Lincoln Park Campus at 2250 N Sheffield Ave.
We have highlighted a few of our current and former our MS students in the past, to learn more check out the following posts:
Sophia Robinson graduated from DePaul in 2015 with a BS/MS in Chemistry. Here she reflects back on her academic career at DePaul University’s Department of Chemistry with Associate Professor and Department Chair, Dr. Lihua Jin.
Accomplished: DePaul University, BS/MS Chemistry 2015
Current: University of Utah, Organic chemistry graduate student
Jin: How has your MS study at DePaul helped you reach where you are now, a PhD student at a top research lab in the country?
Robinson: As an undergraduate, I switched my major to chemistry in the winter quarter of my junior year because I was enjoying my biochemistry class so much. I realized I wanted to have a career in chemistry but felt I had not yet put enough time in at the bench to commit to a PhD program. With more experience in the lab, I became confident that I had the passion for research and personal drive to succeed in a PhD program.
Having an MS was somewhat advantageous for my graduate school applications as it showed my commitment to my education and that despite additional years of study after undergrad; I was still passionate about chemistry and research. Chemistry PhD programs are making an investment in their students and as an applicant it is important to demonstrate your passion for research, chemistry, and that you have the drive to not only finish the program but hopefully make important contributions to science during your time there.
Jin: What aspects of your MS study at DePaul have been the most beneficial to you for your growth as a graduate student?
Robinson: By far the most beneficial aspect of my MS study was my research experience. The MS program gave me the opportunity to have my own research project with more independence and also the valuable experience of writing a thesis. Having written a MS thesis, I feel better prepared for how to approach my PhD dissertation and most importantly, stay organized to keep putting the whole story together much easier.