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Drew University Students Explore, Present STEM Research Projects

Aline Carla Kruger C’23 takes us through the event

November 2022 – Drew University students, faculty, and RISE fellows attended a research exposition showcasing the striking STEM student research projects under development in the natural sciences.

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Korka Fall C'23, left, and Karima Shifa C'23

This event, hosted by Drew’s Chemistry Honor Society, was created with the intention to show new STEM undergraduates the kinds of research being conducted at the University, and provide them with a space to talk to faculty and other students about what they would like to do and the possibilities for future work.

The exposition spanned topics ranging from the development of novel medicinal chemistry molecules, protocols for air-free organic reductions, kinetics of metal clusters substitutions, and the characterization of biological enzymes in the field of chemistry. In addition, neuroscience students presented their research on the systematic culturing of neurons to model Alzheimer’s disease while microbiology and molecular biology students presented their research in genetic mutations in bacterial strains and the molecular basis of viral infections were elegantly displayed.

One of the most successful parts of the event was the experiential exchange between students. Gabby Tronosky C’23, who studies the substrate inhibition of biological enzymes, highlighted that doing research helped her decide the career path she is pursuing. Moreover, she shared an important piece of advice with the incoming students: to try research in different fields and follow what sparks one’s interest the most.

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Students and faculty explore various STEM research projects.

Dr. Kimberly Choquette, assistant professor of chemistry, emphasized how rewarding it is to be able to conduct research with undergraduates. That is, she enjoys providing the opportunity for students to develop confidence in their work and troubleshoot problems by themselves.

Beyond decision-making and problem solving, Virginia Gaylord C’23, who is defending an honors thesis in physical chemistry, focuses on another skill that research builds: time management. She says that this skill was essential when managing intense laboratory work, advanced classes, and the complex writing of her project. She added that, though demanding, the crafting of a thesis has pushed her to be a better scientist and raised the prestige of her undergraduate career.

Overall, by reaching new and experienced STEM undergraduates, the event was an overwhelming success. Many new students attended and learned about the opportunities for research at the University and were able to gather firsthand experience from their more experienced peers and faculty members. 

Looking forward, the experiences in research will not only boost job applications and provide strong resumes, but also create college graduates with an enriching range of transferable skills.

The participants would like to thank the board members of the Chemistry Honors Society for promoting this important event.

Written by Aline Carla Kruger C’23, majoring in chemistry.

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