MSU St. Andrews STEM Summer Research Program – August 3

This year marks the 7th STEM Summer Research Program for high school students at MSU St. Andrews. This summer’s program concludes with students’ oral presentations and poster displays on Thursday, August 3, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at MSU St. Andrews, 1910 W. St. Andrews Rd., Midland, MI.

Research Projects:

  1. 3D-Printed Biomaterial Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering
  2. Valorizing Food Byproducts: Unlocking Biomedical Potential (The Axia Institute)
  3. New Organic Chemistry for Redox Flow Batteries
  4. Evaluation of Phase Transfer Catalyst for the Synthesis of Benzo-15-Crown-5 and 5-Acetoxymethylfurfural
  5. Do Bees Dine with Their Neighbors? Analysis of Bee Pollen by Light Microscopy

Nine high school students and one returning student are working alongside preceptors in various research disciplines. The students represent high schools in the Midland area. Three students participated through the ACS Project SEED program coordinated through the Midland Section of the American Chemical Society.

MSU-St. Andrews’ summer research program has had a positive impact on the students. Some are continuing in their higher education in the areas that they worked in during their summer research. One student, who participated in the research program in 2019, has joined us on the staff after graduating from Michigan Technological University.

Below are quotes from preceptors and students:

“Our students evaluated solid food byproducts for biomedical applications after extracting antioxidants from asparagus, apples, coffee, and cherry pits. Chemical analysis and antimicrobial testing against E. coli were conducted in collaboration with the 3D Printing lab. Jonathan found joy in the use of precision instruments. Morgan appreciated the unique and beneficial research. Alicia, a mentor, found value in even the small steps. The summer STEM program has been a transformative experience for these exceptional students, empowering them with a knowledge and passion for scientific exploration.” – Preceptor: Bahar Aliakbarian, Ph.D.

“We work alongside Dr. Kruper to synthesize novel molecules for organic flow cell batteries. The compounds are sent to our partners at Jolt LLC in Holland, MI (MSU Bioeconomy Institute), where they test their electrochemical properties. In our work, we run analytical tests to monitor reactions. For example, gas chromatography and thin layer chromatography provide methods for assaying and purifying our new organic materials. We employ nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (19F, 13C, and 1H NMR) to determine the molecular structures of new compounds. In addition to hands-on synthesis, we are exposed to tutorials and the literature to better understand the previous work and formulate approaches using the scientific method.” –  Maria Tessin and Quinn VanZile

“Spending the past few weeks in the MSU St. Andrews facility has been an incredible experience for us. We have both learned so much about chemistry, laboratory technique, and the way in which research is conducted. The hands-on experience has helped us build our knowledge of chemistry and has taught us how a real lab operates. Spending time working alongside and learning from such accomplished chemists in the area has truly been the highlight of our summer and has prepared us for what a future career in science could look like” – Paloma Jolly & Caden Cummings

“St. Andrews promotes curiosity and the opportunity to develop personal approaches. As a returning student to the 3D printing lab, I am grateful to the community which has supported my interests in technologies that I will pursue in my career. Researching biodegradable polymer scaffolds has fostered my growth in organization, perseverance, and creativity to overcome challenges in the lab. Whether severe or mild, challenges prompt students to gain vital experience by solving them. I truly hope that more students get to experience MSU St. Andrews and the accomplishment of success.” – Shubhan Nagarkar

“It’s been a great experience working with my mentors and peers during my time at MSU St. Andrews. I’ve learned so much about 3D Printing and the many applications of it and It’s so interesting to see how we can even use 3D printing to solve biomedical problems.” – George Gu

“Our research at MSU-St. Andrews has been fascinating and enlightening.  We have been collecting pollen pellets from bees as they enter their hives.  By analyzing tiny individual pollen grains by microscopy (determining grouping, size, shape, surface morphology, and color), we ascertain whether separate bee colonies at the same location are visiting the same or different flowers.  We have also extracted pollen directly from flowers and trees in Dow Gardens and Whiting Forest and had the opportunity to inspect actual beehives and learn what goes into keeping and maintaining bees.” – Kennedy Holt & Derek Shoch

We are grateful to our supporters for making this program possible.

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