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Undergraduate Research: Support What You Love

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry announces our first 5K—a crowdsourcing effort to raise funds to support an undergraduate research student for Summer 2017.  We are hoping to find a minimum of 100 donors to each chip in $50 towards our effort of sustaining the culture of undergraduate research in the department.  Each 5K raised would be enough to provide a stipend for the student and a supply budget for the project.  Of course, any donation amount is appreciated, larger or smaller, towards this effort.  We are also happy to convert our 5K into a 10K and support two students!  

Summer Research Students 2016For many years, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has been a campus leader in undergraduate research. In recent years, with the increased space in the School of Science and Math Building, we have been able to support approximately 50 students each summer.  We know that these experiences are a major factor in student success upon graduation, whether graduates seek employment in industry or matriculation in medical school and graduate school.  In the summer, the students are immersed in a research community, during which research literature is read, ideas are generated, data are collected and presented, papers are written, and lifetime friendships are made.  Frequently in the fall, the department supports the travel of roughly 25 students to the annual Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society so that the students can present their work to an audience of professional chemists. The faculty view undergraduate research as among the most important, the most transformative, and the most rewarding teaching that we do.

Providing these experiences is expensive. Each year the faculty members spend many hours writing external and internal grants to fund their students and to purchase the supplies and instruments needed for their projects. We have grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the American Chemical Society, Research Corp, NASA, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that have all been used to support students. In addition, the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department routinely leads all others on campus in applying for the competitive internal funds available. But each year, we fall short of supporting all the students who need and desire this valuable experience. And each year, funding agencies are eliminating programs that support research at undergraduate institutions or are cutting back on the number of awards. We worry about sustaining our momentum.  

We sincerely hope, as an alumnus or friend of the department who knows the impact of a research experience, that you can help us reach or exceed our 5K crowd-sourced goal.  Please consider making a donation today to the R318 Chemistry account through the College of Charleston Foundation.  One hundred donations of $50 would get us to our goal, but all donations received between January and March this year will be used in support of an undergraduate student this summer.Summer Research Group meeting You can write a check to the College of Charleston Foundation designating our R318 fund or donate online at https://giving.cofc.edu/donate, designating “Other” and then Chemistry Fund R318.  We promise to post the results of our first 5K initiative on our Facebook page and on our webpage.