Why do research?
The Roanoke College Chemistry Department strongly encourages its Chemistry and Biochemistry majors to participate in undergraduate research projects. Such projects help you learn how classroom chemistry and biochemistry are used in a research setting, to learn the joys and frustrations of scientific research, and to participate in a close, cooperative fashion with a faculty mentor. In addition, remember that graduate schools, medical schools, and future potential employers view an undergraduate research experience in a very positive light. While not required of those who participate, many students who carry out research projects gather enough data to present their work as posters at national and local scientific meetings.
Looking for information on research off-campus?
Check out the NSF listings. Please note that deadlines for summer programs are sometimes as early as December or January, so advance planning is key.
Who needs to do research to graduate?
One unit of 400-level research (summer or academic year) is a graduation requirement for the BS in Chemistry and can count as a chemistry elective for the BA in Chemistry. One unit of advanced research is one of two options for graduation requirements for the BS in Biochemistry.
How do I find a project/faculty mentor?
For summer research (typically for credit, often paid a stipend), there is a specific process for placing students into research labs.
For research during the academic year (typically for credit, not typically paid), you can contact faculty members who might be willing to mentor your research project to arrange something. To receive credit, the department chair must be notified within the first few days of the semester, so starting the conversation the semester before you want to receive credit is a good idea.
- Computational chemistry and molecular simulation, contact Dr. Kelly Anderson at email@example.com.
- Organic synthesis and organometallic chemistry, contact Dr. Skip Brenzovich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Organic synthesis and photochemistry, contact Dr. Gary Hollis at email@example.com.
- Biochemistry of enzymes, including structure/function investigations of active sites, contact Dr. Tim Johann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Projects on nanomaterials, contact Dr. Steven Hughes at email@example.com
- Sensors and Instrumentation, contact Dr. Richard Keithley at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Biochemistry research projects (protein structure and function, purine biosynthesis), contact Dr. Cathy Sarisky at email@example.com.
How do I go to a meeting off campus to present my work?
Many students who've worked a summer or several semesters are ready to attend a national meeting to present their results. Talk to your research mentor and to Dr. Brenzovich about what meeting might be appropriate. Note that deadlines for presenters are often six months in advance of the meeting, so start planning early!
Can I afford to go? There is funding available through the Director of Undergraduate Research and through the Department. Between the two programs, we can typically cover most of the costs of attending the meeting, provided that the student and faculty mentor make every effort to identify less expensive choices. When funds are available, students presenting at a national meeting who have received funding from the Director of Undergraduate Research will also receive funds intended to cover lodging, travel, and registration fees. Students are responsible for costs of meals except one dinner with faculty.
Students should contact Dr. Brenzovich about intended travel as early as possible.
Please note that entertainment, meals, and other expenses will not be reimbursed, despite the categories on the reimbursement form.