During my 2012 summer internship at The University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming, I had the pleasure of doing research under the supervision of Milan Balaz, Assistant Professor in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. I enjoyed this experience because it allowed me to learn new techniques that will help me with my thesis work at Jackson State University. I worked with several porphyrin dimers that have shown positive signs for photostability and one-photon and two-photon excitation. The two projects I worked were Titrations of porphyrin-DNA nanostructures using enhanced circular dichroism detection of chiral biomolecules (e.g. left-handed Z-DNA) and Binding Constant of porphyrin-DNA nanostructures. The results allowed me to observe the signal of the porphyrin-DNA nanostructures at the different titration levels using enhanced circular dichroism detection. The binding constant experiments data showed B-DNA binding with the porphyrin dimers at different titrations expressed by absorption and fluorescence spectra.

Leondra Lawson, another intern from JSU, and I had an adventurous time in Wyoming. We were definitely exposed to the “Wild West.” Upon our arrival in “the Mile High City”, we were greeted by Milan Balaz and Krisztina Varga who took us to Laramie. During our internship we traveled back to Denver to a Denver Rockies baseball game and to the Elitch Gardens Theme Park. We went sightseeing and shopping in Laramie’s historic downtown area. We also had the opportunity to climb the rocks of Vedauwoo and the Snowy Range in the Medicine Bow National Forest and to sit in the healing mineral hot springs in Saratoga. Additionally, we had the chance to visit Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Our travels within and around Wyoming definitely exceeded our expectations.

I could not have done this work without the help I received from the Balaz Group. The work environment and research motivated me along with the many friendly and cheerful people I met while in Laramie. Leondra and I are forever indebted to Milan Balaz, Krisztina Varga, Shawna McBride and Leslie and Don Roth. They treated us like family, shared their wisdom and gave us advice about our future endeavors. Finally, I would like to thank the NSF GK-12 Energy and Environmental Nanotechnology and the SDIC grant program for funding our summer internship. I had a wonderful time and I would encourage anyone to take advantage of this opportunity!!!!