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High School Scientists Meet Enzymes and Mentors in Duquesne Labs

Nine area high school students will spend their summer with molecules and mentors in the 12th year of Duquesne University's Project SEED.

Offered through the chemistry department of Duquesne's Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences and the American Chemical Society, Project SEED benefits individual students with stipends and experiences and, widens the pipeline to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.

"Many students are talented but might not consider themselves as future scientists," said Dr. Jennifer Aitken, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who started the award-winning program at Duquesne. "In accordance with the Duquesne University mission, we strive to promote diversity in the chemical sciences by reaching out to these academically talented students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and offering them a hands-on chemistry research experience allowing them to visualize themselves among the next generation of scientists."

This year, students working on projects at Duquesne from June 15 to Aug. 7 are:

  • Allderdice-Angel Williamson-Wheat, Amadou Diallo and Jeremiah Jones
  • Carrick-Sarine McKenzie
  • Chartiers-Stephen Lau
  • McKeesport-Cheyeanne Perez
  • Sto-Rox-Jordan Pestok and Nadejda Kodjo
  • West Mifflin-Amber Latona.

Their projects include:

  •  Enzyme Kinetics in a Crowded Molecular Environment
  • Adsorption of Arsenic by Activated Carbon
  • Self-Assembled Monolayers on Nickel
  • Synthesis of Molybdenum-based Starting Materials for Use in Molybdenum-Dithiolene Complex Formation.

Students will share the results of their work in poster presentations at Duquesne's Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium on Friday, July 31.

"Through close interactions with their mentors, students get encouragement to pursue a scientific career through the realization that scientists are real people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds," Aitken said. "By presenting the findings of their studies at the research symposium, the Project SEED students gain the confidence that they need to continue on a career path in the sciences."

To learn more about the sciences at Duquesne, visit www.duq.edu/sciences. To learn more about the Project SEED students' progress, visit their blog at http://duquesneprojectseed.blogspot.com.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.