Monday, July 28, 2014

UNO Hosts 2014 AMRI Chemistry Summer Outreach Research Program

On Friday, more than three dozen undergraduate and high school students from around the region delivered poster presentations at the University of New Orleans, where they spent the summer participating in advanced materials research.

The Advanced Materials Research Institute/Chemistry Summer Outreach Research program started in 2002 as a program for high school students and teachers and expanded the following year to include graduate students, said Leonard Spinu, director of UNO-AMRI. Over the past 14 years, the UNO-AMRI Chemistry Summer Outreach Research program has continued to expand and improve, thanks to from the National Science Foundation, the University of Louisiana System Board of Regents, the BP Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative and other institutions. The summer research program is designed to increase the awareness and understanding of scientific research among undergraduates, high school students and teachers. No prior research experience is required for participation.

The eight-week interdisciplinary summer outreach program run by UNO faculty is designed to advance research skills of S.T.E.M. students from the greater New Orleans metropolitan area and includes chemistry, physics, biological sciences, psychology, computer science and engineering components. This year's session ended on Friday with poster presentations of individual projects and a celebratory cookout, Spinu said.

Thirty-two area residents, including 16 undergraduates, eight high school students and eight high school teachers participated in the 2014 AMRI/Chemistry Outreach Summer Research Program, Spinu said. Participants conducted research on independent projects in chemistry, physics, biology, or materials science, Spinu said. They attended weekly seminars designed to allow discussion of current scientific issues, general research concepts, and scientific ethics. Participants also enjoyed the opportunity to work with equipment in the UNO-AMRI lab, where University researchers conduct research in nanochemistry and other advanced materials fields.

Projects ranged from an exploration of chemicals formed in crude oil that has been exposed to sunlight -- to a psychology study of the level of stress in the Young Hispanic Population and a nanophysics study of molecular dynamics.

This year's participants included undergraduates who attend Rhodes College; Xavier University of Louisiana; Southern University; Louisiana Tech; Skyline College; Spring Hill College; Allegheny College; Washington University in St. Louis; Wake Forest University and the University of New Orleans.

Participating high School students attend Lusher Charter High School; Isidore Newman School; Northshore High School; Ursuline Academy; St. Mary's Academy; Benjamin Franklin High School; Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy and Ruppel Academy.

High school teachers who participated teach at Mount Carmel Academy; John Ehret High School; West St. John High School; Ben Franklin High School; and Westgate High School.