MTSU Provides Chemistry Research for High School Students through Project SEED

As a rising senior at Siegel High School, Lyn Smith has wasted no time absorbing as much knowledge as she can through Project SEED, MTSU’s chemistry research program for high school students.


Project SEED (Summer Education Experience for the Economically Disadvantaged) gives rising high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to gain research insight and exposure to future career opportunities in science with the help of MTSU professors and student mentors.


“I actually plan on majoring in chemistry when I go to college. My teacher thought that this would be a very good opportunity to learn more about it,” Smith said.


Not only do the high school students have the chance to bond while creating chemical reactions, but they also go beyond the classroom, which is something they’re not used to this extent at high school.


“At the high school level, you don’t get into all of the detail and it’s more of the basics. Over here you’re actually getting to work professionally with different people instead of by yourself,” Smith added.


Jonathan Holzann will be a junior at Central Magnet High School in Murfreesboro and thanks MTSU for giving him an opportunity to expand his interest in science.


“It’s been great working here,” Holzann said. “This is a much better job than I thought I’d get over the summer.”


For the duration of the program, each student will be working to synthesize a ligand molecule to be coupled with metal to form a metal catalyst for an amine alcohol coupling reaction.


Returning student Edgar Lozano of Central Magnet and Smith each received a $2,500 fellowship that was provided by the American Chemical Society and MTSU Office of Research Services.


All three teens will continue working in MTSU Science Building labs as a part of Project SEED for the remainder of summer.


The ACS-sponsored program runs for two months, with some days going as long for eight hours. These students were nominated and selected to work alongside MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences’ chemistry assistant professor Keying Ding.

“This is my first time participating in Project SEED, but when the students came here I could see their motivation,” Ding said. “Although they haven’t taken much chemistry in high school, I can definitely see their potential.”


Department of Chemistry Chair Greg Van Patten has served as a mentor for Project SEED since 2013 and supervises the analytical methods conducted during the program.

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