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Fellowships Open to Community College Students, Faculty for Research in UW Chemistry Labs

February 19, 2021

Community college students and instructors -- preferably from Wyoming institutions -- have the opportunity to work in a University of Wyoming laboratory for 10 weeks this summer as research fellows.

The UW Department of Chemistry is offering a summer research fellowship for students from community colleges through a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grant. The three-year grant is for $351,000 and will run through summer 2023. UW is the host REU site.

The fellowship program is open to students majoring in a science or engineering field at a community college -- preferably from Wyoming, although students from around the country are welcome to apply. The program runs from late May to late July. Under the grant, nine participants -- seven students and two faculty members -- will be selected for the fellowship program.

Fellowships include a $6,000 stipend for the summer, $200 for travel and $2,000 for meals during the program.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 17. To apply, visit the website at

“The fellowships provide students a unique opportunity to work in a research lab,” says Brian Leonard, a UW associate professor of chemistry. “This is a great opportunity to become familiar with the UW campus, meet other students from around the state and the country, and to get hands-on research experience.”

Leonard and UW chemistry Associate Professor Elliott Hulley are co-principal investigators of the fellowship grant.

The program allows students and faculty members to contribute to chemistry research on projects that include energy, materials and bio-related topics. The hands-on research experience includes a variety of activities -- such as seminars, minicourses on ethics and writing, and energy-related field trips -- to educate and train students for future careers as scientists.

“Each student will work closely with one of the participating faculty mentors selected for their research accomplishments,” Leonard says.

Extracurricular activities, such as camping trips; a visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, located in Golden, Colo.; a Colorado Rockies baseball game; and other planned events are available to the research fellows.

UW’s REU site is specifically focused on serving students and faculty from local community colleges, and has a significant, scientific impact on students in Wyoming and surrounding states, Leonard says. The program effectively engages first- and second-year undergraduates who are early in their college careers and exposes them to graduate-level chemistry research projects.

“These research experiences provide a more in-depth view of chemistry research and potential job opportunities that exist after pursuing a degree in chemistry,” Leonard says. “The students in this program will have several opportunities for professional development, including training in ethics, scientific communication, and preparation of resumes and graduate school application materials.”

Past participants have published papers, transferred to UW to complete their undergraduate degree work in chemistry, and many have gone on to graduate school in chemistry.

For more information, call the UW Department of Chemistry at (307) 766-4363.

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