International students participate in summer research

Mon, 2011-08-15 08:00 -- univcomm
August 15, 2011

For some college students, summer is a time to work to pay off loans and for others it is a time to travel or spend time with friends. For Anderson University junior and chemistry major Grace Yeom, last summer was a time of extensive research and hard work.

yeomYeom spent her summer researching with Dr. Paul Braun of the University of Illinois. During her research, Yeom studied three-dimensional structures of chemical compounds with the Braun Research Group of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Yeom used lasers to develop structures of chemicals, known as chromolithography, a genuine fusion of art and science.

“The National Science Foundation and many other national labs provide several research opportunities for undergraduate students,” said AU associate professor of chemistry Dr. Scott Kennedy. “Because these labs are government funded, they are often limited to United States citizens.”

As a citizen of South Korea, Yeom found herself struggling to find summer research opportunities.

At a conference in San Francisco, Kennedy encountered Braun, a colleague from his years as an undergraduate student. After a brief discussion, Kennedy discovered that Braun had money available for research opportunities for international students. Kennedy introduced Yeom to Braun, and within a few weeks, Yeom was beginning her summer work in the laboratory.

Yeom believes all students should take summer vacation as an opportunity to explore their passions and learn to network within their field. She enjoyed her summer job because it involved “being exposed to the grad school atmosphere and gaining hands-on research experience.”

This summer, Sambed Adhikari, an AU sophomore, found himself having the same struggle that Yeom had last year. Adhikari is majoring in physics, chemistry, and mathematics. A citizen of Kathmandu, Nepal, Adhikari followed Yeom's footsteps to Braun, and participated in the same research project.

“I hope that meeting grad students with different perceptive and academic backgrounds will broaden my intellectual horizon,” said Adhikari. “Rather than a job, I look at this opportunity as a better understanding of myself.”

According to Kennedy, the connection to the Braun Research Group may continue if international science students remain interested in the research position.

“If we have students who continue to want to pursue those opportunities, we will establish a good track record,” said Kennedy, “and my colleague at University of Illinois will always know that if we have a student who is coming out of our university, it will be someone who can do good things for him.”

— Kelly Gualdoni is a junior from Fort Wayne, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Gualdoni is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.