Chemical Research for Students
in the Department of Chemistry
at Lycoming College

Solving problems is the job of a chemist. For that matter, problem solving is vital in most careers. Unfortunately, the problems you encounter in your career, unlike those you encounter in your courses, will not come with an answer key. How, then, do you make the transition from the "safe" problems of college to the "real" challenges of the laboratory or office?

Undergraduate research at a liberal arts college is an ideal place to start. Nothing prepares you for solving real problems like solving real problems, and that is what research is all about - trying to answer real, honest, unanswered questions. And unlike some other places, the first priority at a liberal arts college is your training. You can thus expect a supportive environment for those first unsure steps in applying your knowledge. In the process you have a chance to make a real contribution to the world around you.

Many research projects are available at Lycoming College in synthetic organic, organometallic, inorganic, physical, and analytical chemistry. All the Chemistry faculty have projects in which students can involve themselves - or you may have an idea which a faculty member could supervise. Projects may take one of four forms:

1. Internships. These are jointly sponsored by the College and a public or private agency and allow you to earn credit while doing research outside of the school.

2. Independent Studies / Chemistry Research Methods. These are taken as a course, but instead of studying a text you can do research in the laboratory under the supervision of a faculty member. Normally a paper is produced and presented orally to the Department for a grade.

3. Honors. If you are an excellent chemistry student, your senior independent studies (see 2) may qualify for departmental honors. This requires you to produce a substantial research paper which is defended orally in front of a committee of three faculty members.

4. Summer Research. Funds are available at Lycoming to pay students to do full-time research over summer vacation. Credit may be earned for such work if you desire.

Student research plays a vital role in preparing for your career. We strongly advise you to explore the opportunities for research at any college which you consider. We believe that the undergraduate research program is one of the strengths of the Chemistry Department at Lycoming College and hope you will consider joining us. Finally, remember what the sign on Dr. McDonald's research lab door here says: "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be research".

Schedules & Syllabi | Faculty & Staff | Students & Alumni  | Research |
| Curriculum & Catalog | Facilities & Equipment | Tour | Safety & Links |  

Back to the Chemistry Department Home Page!

Last updated January 12, 2002.
The URL for this page is http://www.lycoming.edu/chem/research/whyres.htm