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NSF awards grant to support undergraduate research

The $340,000 NSF award supports Furman's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in the Department of Chemistry.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $340,000 grant to Furman University through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

The REU site award supports the training of 10 students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2019-2021.

Karen Buchmueller, principal investigator and professor, Furman Department of Chemistry

In the program, funded by NSF’s Division of Chemistry in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate, Furman Chemistry Professor and principal investigator Karen L. Buchmueller and colleagues host an REU site that involves three visiting teams, each consisting of a faculty mentor and two to three students who come to Furman University each summer to conduct research.

The program also includes two Furman teams, each consisting of a faculty mentor and one student. The summer program begins with a research boot camp, providing mini-courses in laboratory safety, scientific ethics, career advising and hands-on experience with departmental instrumentation.

This is the 10th grant the Furman Department of Chemistry has received through the NSF’s REU program, but the department has received substantial competitive funding from NSF in support of undergraduate research for decades.

Said Furman Associate Provost for Integrative Science John Wheeler, “Furman has had nearly continuous REU support in chemistry dating back to 1987, and prior to that, the department was supported under previous REU-like initiatives as one of the early champions of faculty scholarship with undergraduate colleagues.

Furman has received nearly continuous funding from the NSF for decades.

“We have been privileged with exceptional departmental vision in those funding efforts for over 40 years, which helped to establish Furman’s reputation as a national leader in high-impact engaged learning activities. I applaud Dr. Buchmueller’s extraordinary efforts in leading our REU efforts since 2015 and look forward to the impacts of this program in providing transformative experiences for future Furman students and visiting scientific teams.”

The REU summer research program culminates in an oral symposium and an outreach program at Greenville’s Frazee Center, which leads a summer camp for under resourced children. The entire summer is designed to facilitate the development of future scientists, through direct engagement with real scientific problems in the lab and the formation of meaningful relationships with faculty and students participating in the program.

Said Buchmueller, “The goal is to cultivate future scientists, both directly within the program and through sustainable research programs at partner institutions.”

Furman provides a unique summer REU program that incorporates visiting teams of students and faculty from small colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and technical colleges. As an REU site, Furman provides research and educational opportunities that act as stepping stones in the development of the undergraduate student as a scientist.

Learn more about Furman’s NSF-REU program. Or contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

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