Mentored research is a highly-valued component of our curriculum. By choosing to attend a primarily undergraduate institution like PC, you will have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on important problems in the chemical sciences. This process of discovery and innovation in the laboratory will make you attractive to employers and graduate schools after leaving PC. We have research projects in several sub-disciplines within chemistry, so there are many opportunities for you to explore.
How do you get involved in research?
Research for Credit: Students can conduct research with a faculty member as early as the second semester in their first year. First and second-year students are offered 1-credit research courses that allow them to perform some preliminary experiments while still taking their introductory coursework. Juniors and seniors normally take research for 3-credits, which entails deeper involvement and greater independence in a research project. Students who participate in research for multiple years frequently publish their work in scientific journals and make presentations at national meetings.
Walsh Summer Research Fellowships: Through the generosity of chemistry alumnus Robert H. Walsh ’39, our chemistry and biochemistry majors have the opportunity to conduct research with a faculty member in the summer. These paid fellowships come with a $4,200 stipend, a reduced on-campus housing rate, $1,000 in funds for laboratory supplies, and access to social activities and campus facilities for a 10-week period. Roughly 12 students each year in the chemical and biological sciences receive these awards.
External funding for research: Several faculty members are supported by federal agencies and private foundations to conduct research in the chemical sciences. Our faculty have been awarded more than $1 million in funding over the past decade to support student-driven projects. We currently have funding from the National Science Foundation, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, and the Rhode Island Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.
Faculty-Student Publications, Presentations, and Grants: Students who conduct research for several years often become co-authors on publications in scientific journals. Students also present their work at scientific meetings, including the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society and American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The College allots $600 each year for each student to travel to present their research. The Undergraduate Research Committee also has several mechanisms by which students can apply for small grant funding for their own research during the academic year and summer.