Marshall University broadens chemistry student research
HUNTINGTON -- Chemistry students at Marshall University transitioned from the lab to the stage Friday morning during an end-of-summer symposium.
More than 20 students participated in the chemistry department's annual summer program, which allows them to work with faculty members in their labs while doing research.
Friday morning, they presented the results of their studies during the symposium in the Memorial Student Center.
The program, in its fifth year on campus, provides students with the opportunity to do hands-on work and even be published in professional journals.
There are four goals to the program, said Derrick Kolling, assistant chemistry professor.
The goals are to increase student-student interaction, increase student-faculty interaction, improve students' communications skills and increase the research profile of the department, he said.
Laura McCunn, an associate professor in the department, said the program is as beneficial for faculty as it is for students.
"As faculty, we're supposed to be keeping current in our field and up to date with what's happening in chemistry," McCunn said. "Research is how we do that. We all have something we are deeply interested in and that we think can make a contribution to society."
McCunn said students are not just cleaning dishes or observing their professors during the program. She said they actually are doing the research and using techniques that they may not have had the chance to practice in their classes.
Marjorie McCoy, a chemistry major from Beckley, said she got to work with gold nano particles by doing things like attaching them to DNA during her research.
McCoy aspires to join the Peace Corps after graduating from Marshall but before attending medical school, and she said the research experience has helped her form better relationships with her professors that will benefit her as she continues her studies.
"It helps a lot during classes," McCoy said. "You get to know your professors ahead of your classes, and you are comfortable with them. It gives you a much better background for information you might not even have read in your textbook, and when you get to it, you'll understand it better because you've already practiced it."
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