NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Sixteen soon-to-graduate chemistry and biochemistry seniors in Stephen F. Austin State University's College of Sciences and Mathematics will participate in a research symposium this month.

"All graduating seniors are required to present their research project in a formal, scientific format. Sophomores and juniors are strongly encouraged to present a poster at the symposium, too," said Dr. Michele Harris, professor and assistant chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "This is the third year we've been doing the Research Symposium. We believe research participation and scientific communication are crucial aspects of training students to become professional chemists and biochemists. The symposium is the 'grand finale' of our research and capstone experience."

Open to the public, the symposium is part of the chemistry and biochemistry capstone course CHE 470. In addition to 16 seniors, about 10 additional students will present. The best two presentations, as selected by the alumni evaluators, are recognized at the awards banquet held later in the evening. Those selected receive a $100 scholarship.

"Students gain hands-on laboratory skills throughout their research project," Harris said. "Most students work on their research project three to four semesters prior to presenting at the research symposium. During their semesters of research, students not only gain laboratory skills, they also receive safety training and are presented with ethical considerations of research."

Research topics to be presented at the symposium include "The Effects of pH on the Quantum Yield of Fluorescein" by Steven Sunday, "The Origin of Sulfur Content in the Mineral Springs of Lampasas, Texas," by Megan Jenkins, and "Analysis of Vapor from E-cigarettes" by Timothy Turner, among others.

"Undergraduate research provides the opportunity for mentoring relationships between student and faculty members to develop," Harris added. "In addition, undergraduate research allows students to develop good recordkeeping skills, organizational skills and independence in the laboratory. Scientific communication, both oral and written, also is emphasized throughout their experience."

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Research Symposium will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in the Math Building. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

For information, contact Harris at