Penn State Altoona has set forth on a mission, a mission of discovery of new knowledge. It is this commitment that drives our community of scholars - faculty and students - to engage in ground-breaking research. A college education in science is not quite complete without hands-on experience and the Chemistry Department strongly encourages students to join in the challenge and stimulation of its various research programs. Penn State Altoona students have the rare opportunity to actively participate in an advanced research program, sharing in the failures and triumphs of original research with their professors in nationally funded and reported research projects. Further, students gain confidence, in-depth exposure to a particular area of chemistry, expertise in advanced laboratory techniques, and, of most importance, the satisfaction of making a contribution to the advancement of knowledge in science. The Chemistry Department's research programs and faculty are at the leading edge of scientific research in such areas as biochemistry, materials, inorganic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, isolation and synthesis of natural products, studies of fluorescence, polymers, theoretical chemistry and molecular modeling. In addition, interdisciplinary programs with biology, physics and engineering encompass such topics as enzyme catalysis, magnetorheological fluids and theory of molecular interactions.
Students interested in participating in a research project are encouraged to contact the applicable faculty member.
Undergraduate research can start as soon as your freshman year, so don't wait.
Recently, the Chemistry Department received a grant from the Nation Science Foundation to purchase a Gas Chromatograph equipped with an autosampler and ion trap mass spectrometer (for more details, visit the facilities page)
The primary source of funding for the Varian CP-3800 GC came from the National Science Foundation, through the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement program (0633646). Supplemental funding has also been provided by the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Penn State Altoona.
Current Research at Penn State Altoona
Dr. Bell's research group is involved in a variety of research projects, such as, fundamental aspects of nanoparticle and nano- and microwire physical and chemical properties, magnetorheological fluids, vortex mixing, chemical sensors and ion transport through thin films. This research provides students with the opportunity to use advanced instrumentation and techniques such as electrodeposition, high vacuum methods, infrared spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectrophotometry, mass spectrometry, scanning electron microscopy and tunneling electron microscopy. Strong ties link these projects to theoretical and computational research, as well as with other areas of interest such as materials science, nanotechnology, and engineering. Many of these projects are interdisciplinary collaborations with physics and engineering. Students of all disciplines are encouraged to inquire about available openings within this research group.
How to Get Involved
Students interested in participating in a faculty's research project are encouraged to contact that faculty member. Research is an educational, stimulating and career building experience that helps students' scientific professional growth. Sign up for CHEM 294 or 494 to receive 1 credit for each 4 hours of lab time (or as prescribed by your research advisor). If you are interested in performing a research project of your own (CHEM 496) or in an internship (CHEM 495), contact a faculty member for more details.
Summer Research Stipends
Research does not stop at the end of the regular academic year, but rather the research efforts of our faculty intensify during the summer months. Students have the opportunity to participate more closely with research projects and their advisors during the summer when they are not faced with the demands of other class work. Students can apply for summer stipends through the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences or may be funded through grants of individual faculty. Student grants are also available from University Park. These stipends are generally in the neighborhood of $7.00 to $10.00 an hour depending on such factors as funding availability and student experience. Ask your research advisor or faculty member for more information on how to apply for summer stipends.
Benefits of Participating in Undergraduate Research
One of the advantages of attending a major university is the opportunity to participate in internationally recognized research programs. Undergraduate research gives you the opportunity to explore research as a possible career option and allows you to work with professional colleagues in what often becomes a lifelong professional relationship.
An important component of our program is a close interaction between faculty and students. Students should expect to attain practical experience in laboratory and fieldwork through internships and independent study projects related to faculty research, outside corporations, and agencies.
For more information, visit research opportunities and internships.
Contact:Dr. Richard C. Bell
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Office: 104 Science Building