Science & Research

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

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Three WVU students selected for competitive NIST research fellowships

Three West Virginia University undergraduates have been awarded National Science Foundation-funded summer research fellowships with the National Institute for Standards and Technology, one of the leading research organizations in the world and home to four Nobel Prize winners. The NIST is a federal agency that develops technology, metrics and standards that are the basis for innovation and industrial competitiveness.

Sydney Brooks, a double major in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry and the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science ; Samantha Isaac, a double major in physics and astronomy and mathematics and Anna Gilpin, a biomedical engineering major in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering with a minor in statistics, are part of a select group of 130 students nationwide who will spend their summer conducting research in conjunction with NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland, near the nation’s capital.

Brooks and Isaac will spend their summer working in the Material Measurement Laboratory and the NIST Center for Neutron Research Program. Gilpin will work with the Standards Coordination Office to create a key research database in the growing field of biotechnology. As part of the program, all of the students will work alongside researchers on ongoing research activities and participate in seminars, gaining valuable experience in chemistry, biochemistry and material sciences. They will also participate in a research colloquium at the end of the summer.

The opportunity being afforded to these young scientists is truly extraordinary, according to Dr. Michelle Richards-Babb, director of WVU’s Office of Undergraduate Research.

“Our students are getting the chance to work with scientists whose sole focus is research to improve and enhance our nation’s economy, security and quality of life. It’s also exciting because we know that our students’ previous research with WVU faculty members is what gave them the competitive edge to earn NIST fellowships,” said Richards-Babb.

At WVU, Brooks researches methods for analysis of organic gunshot residue with Dr. Suzanne Bell. Isaac has done research with Dr. Edward Flagg using computer programming and design skills to control components for an optics-based instrument. Gilpin works with Dr. Yong Yang studying how supercritical carbon dioxide can assist in regenerative medicine.

To participate in the NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, students must apply through WVU’s Office of Undergraduate Research and be nominated as part of a larger application packet submitted by the University. The NIST fellowships are just a few of the research opportunities available to undergraduate students through the office.