REU Site: Sustainable Chemistry at Texas A&M University
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This Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site award to Texas A&M University, located in College Station, TX, supports the training of 9 undergraduate students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2019-2021. This program, funded by the Division of Chemistry, engages participants in research centered around sustainable chemistry, particularly on pollution prevention and reduction of the negative impacts of chemical processes on human health and the environment. To enhance professional development, participants take part in a weekly sustainable chemistry workshop with presentations from university and industrial experts who provide background knowledge, as well as the larger context for their projects. The program also emphasizes the importance of science communication. With coaching from local TV producers and the college science communication manager, the undergraduate students produce and disseminate videos on the theme of sustainable chemistry to the general public. The site leverages Texas A&M University''s institutional strengths in serving veteran students and long-standing partnerships to recruit underserved student veterans and underrepresented minority students and provide them with continuing mentoring to help them continue in scientific careers.Participants take part in quality research experiences that address impactful problems in sustainable chemistry, such as the development of greener solvents and reagents; the development of more efficient reactions and processes; and the exploration of renewable energy resources. The projects utilize the department''s expertise in sustainable chemistry and its strong infrastructure, including facilities for X-ray diffraction, NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, materials characterization, and molecular simulation. The REU Site also provides participants with multiple mentors, both at the intra- and extra-institutional level, and these relationships are intentionally sustained past the formal duration of the summer program. This program provides students at early career stages with opportunities for graduate level research and continued mentoring while seeking to increase the number of qualified students in the STEM disciplines.This award reflects NSF''s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation''s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.