High School Students Perform Research at Rider

Three local high school students were selected to conduct chemical research at Rider University this summer as part of the American Chemical Society’s Project SEED summer program.
Monday, September 10, 2012

Three Mercer County high school students were selected to conduct chemical research at Rider University this summer as part of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Project SEED summer program.

The Project SEED program provides a $2,500 fellowship to an economically disadvantaged student to participate in summer research at an academic, government or industrial laboratory. An important feature of the program is its emphasis on career development and its motivation of students to pursue higher education in the natural sciences.

“Our Project SEED program is about more than just doing science,” said Dr. Danielle Jacobs, who has served as Rider’s Project SEED program coordinator for the past four summers. “Part of the mentoring experience is teaching life skills, preparing students for the real world, and opening their eyes to careers they had never even dreamed of pursuing.”

On Rider’s Lawrenceville campus, students perform eight weeks of laboratory work on an original research project, visit chemical and pharmaceutical companies, and receive counseling on applying to and paying for college. This summer’s participating student fellows included:

  • Joseph Kparway, a senior at Nottingham High School, worked under the direction of Dr. Danielle Jacobs, designing a freshman laboratory experiment investigating the differences in hydrolysis rates between various formulations of Aspirin. Kparway was nominated for the fellowship by his Chemistry teacher, James Becker.
  • Shivam Sabharwal, a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, worked alongside Kparway on the research project. He was nominated for the fellowship by his Chemistry teacher, Julia Norato. Sabharwal follows a Project SEED legacy, as his sister, Shreya, was a 2008 alumnus of Rider’s Project SEED program. She is currently entering her fifth year as a doctor of Pharmacy candidate at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
  • Amparo Pozos, a senior at Lawrence High School, worked under the direction of Dr. Bruce Burnham, synthesizing of ortho-nitrophenyl acetate and investigating its use in acetylcholine esterase kinetics. Pozos was nominated by her Chemistry teacher, Matthew Davis.

This summer, Project SEED fellows visited Bristol-Myers Squibb in Lawrenceville, the New Jersey State Forensics Laboratory in Hamilton, ConAgra in Cranbury, ChemGlass in Vineland, the Salem Community College Glass Education Center in Salem, and ExxonMobil in Paulsboro.

The student fellows gave oral presentations summarizing their scholarly research to other students and faculty at the Rider Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium on August 9 on the Lawrenceville campus. They capped their fellowships by giving poster presentations explaining their projects at the 244th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia on August 20.

Rider University has hosted Project SEED fellows since 1976, when Dr. William McCarroll, professor emeritus of Chemistry, and Dr. John Sheats, professor emeritus of Chemistry, recognized that Rider and the surrounding community would benefit from a program that would train motivated and talented individuals to do chemical research. Project SEED is funded jointly by the ACS and local industry. Program support for this summer’s program was provided significantly by the local Trenton ACS section.

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