by Elizabeth Clarke
Two Louisiana Christian University science majors have earned highly competitive research experiences for undergraduates (REU) at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg this summer.
Joshua Poole, a sophomore pre-engineering with chemistry major of Lithia, Florida, will be doing his REU in the Polymer Science and Engineering department. Ethan West, a junior chemistry major of Pine Prairie, will be doing an REU in the Chemistry department. Poole’s National Science Foundation funded program focuses on “polymer innovations for a sustainable future.”
“Ethan West and Josh Poole are excellent students who make us very proud,” said David Elliott, chair of the Division of Natural Sciences. “Both are dedicated learners and gifted in math and science – but beyond this, they also aspire to careers in research. Both are aiming at graduate studies in the sciences once they complete their degrees at LCU, and this makes their summer REUs at the University of Southern Mississippi a wonderful opportunity. They will receive training and experience beyond that which they receive at LCU, but we have found from past students that their training here has prepared them well.”
Poole said he is excited about the opportunity this gives STEM students to experience what an actual job in their major would be like. Plus, it comes with a $6000 stipend.
“I also hope to make friends and connections so I can find that job in my major,” Poole said. West is participating in a National Science Foundation funded program focusing on “sensing and assembly based on non-covalent interactions,” he said. The central focus of the program is in biochemistry, with the assembly of proteins and macromolecules, as well as the synthesis of bioactive molecules.
“I am participating in this program mostly for experience purposes,” West said. “I hope to gain knowledge in the field of chemical research.”
West said he plans to attend Southern Miss for his graduate studies after he graduates from LCU.
The REUs are nine weeks long and include research and professional training, and they culminate in a research symposium, said Sarah Payne, professor of chemistry and director of the C.S. Lewis Honors Program.
Poole and West are C.S. Lewis Honors scholars.
“Both of these LCU students are great examples of dedicated, hardworking students who are willing to commit the time required to be competitive with peers on the national level,” Payne said.