Chemistry students showcase their research projects


Summer Jacobs

Derric Meyer (center), explains his research project to a guest Thursday afternoon at the 17th Student Research Celebration at the Physical Science Building.

Valentina Vargas, Staff Reporter

Undergraduate and graduate students from the department of chemistry and biochemistry showcased their chemistry research project at the 17th annual Student Research Celebration Thursday in the Physical Science Building.

According to a pamphlet given at the student research celebration there were 11 presentations from 22 students.

Dinesh Balasooriya, a graduate student, said he based his research study on molecular containers, which he said he has researched on for about two years.

“I presented this one (in last year’s celebration) with the American Chemical Society,” Balasooriya said.

The research projects were funded by the National Science Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund (which is administered by the ACS), the Research Corporation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and Mindlin Foundation. 

Ethan Hose, a senior chemistry major, said this is his second semester working in his photochromicity research and he will be working in the same one spring semester.

“To be honest, (at first) I did not really know which topic I wanted to do,” Hose said. “So I tried with three different types of chemistry, but I honestly thought this was the coolest because this has the most direct application, so I can see the compounds changing color.”

Hose said he has only found one compound that changes color when exposed to or removed from light.

Jessica Derham, a first year graduate biology student, said she first got interested in doing research when she took classes on it, but this is her second year also presenting her research.

“I got a chemistry minor, and then my research advisor approached me that it should be something I should look into,” Derham said. “He recruited me essentially, and so I started working with him and still am doing my thesis with him.”

Derham said she has been working on research studies for three years now, since it is a continuation of her undergraduate study with the focus being based on elegans.

“It’s just kind of with a different scope, I’m still looking at the same proteins,” Derham said. “And I am stubbornly sticking to it, I am going to find the answers.” 

Students at the research celebration either worked with one or two more people on a part of the project, but some were individual work.

Derham said part of why she did her graduate studies here at Eastern is because of the atmosphere.

“I like everyone at the department,” Derham said. “They are all very good teachers, which is why I stayed.”

Hose said studying photochromic is not necessarily what he wants to do career wise.

“Once I finish it will definitely at least help me in finding what I want to try and do.” Hose said.

Valentina Vargas can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].