Undergraduate Research can begin as early as your freshman year. Students that begin undergraduate research before their senior year are likely eligible for the Distinction in Undergraduate Chemistry Research Program, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments in undergraduate research. These activities are funded by entrepreneurial activities of the faculty and alumni donations. Most of our faculty are actively involved with our undergraduate majors as both classroom and research teachers.
Chemistry Faculty Areas of Research
During the past several years, numerous presentations have been made by undergraduates at national and regional meetings of the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Tennessee Academy of Sciences. Regional and national meetings take place in cities like Orlando, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, San Francisco, San Diego, and Anaheim, to name a few. Significant funding for their expenses has been provided by the University.
Two emeritus faculty members from the Chemistry Department have created an endowment award called the Swindell/Jackson Award (see section below), which provides summer pay for undergraduate research.
The department has also created a Student Research Grant (see section below) competition that allows both undergraduates and graduate students to write and submit a research proposal, fund their research project, and write a final report. Those students that successfully complete the requirements of the award are often selected for a Student Research Award which is presented at our annual spring banquet.
The Eugene A. Kline and Ruth A. Kline Undergraduate Chemistry Endowment (see section below) is another award that supports basic research in order to help students develop essential skills in better preparing for a variety of careers.
For more information, visit the Tennessee Tech Office of Research Undergraduate and Graduate Research Programs and Funding web page. This page includes information about NSF, URECA! and REU funding.
Why should I begin research as an undergraduate?
It is becoming increasingly more important for you to carry out undergraduate research. Many graduate and professional schools expect you to have some form of undergraduate capstone research experience before they will consider accepting you into their programs. Other reasons for conducting undergraduate research include:
- Academic credit1
- Professional development
- Refined career development
- The potential for publications in referred journal
- Travel to professional meetings to present research results
- Further development of critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills
- Exposure to laboratory techniques, instrumentation and scientific literature
- Development of communication skills
- For the fun of it!
1For academic credit, students can register for CHEM 4991, 4992 or 4993 for 1, 2 or 3 hrs credit, respectively. Each credit hour is a three-hour weekly commitment to working on a project in a chemistry faculty research mentors laboratory – prior mentor approval required (see your mentor, or go to the chemistry office for the required form). For any chemistry degree (including biochemistry), only a total of 4 hrs can count towards your degree; however, more than four hours can be taken for academic credit. This form should be completed in advance of the last day to register for classes.
How do I begin?
- Explore the chemistry faculty profiles on our website and read about each one's background and research areas.
- Contact those faculty members who have research interests that are similar to yours and request a time when you can meet with them.
- Select a research professor who has indicated that he/she is interested/willing to work with you, and inform them of your decision.
- Discuss your research options and scheduling needs with the professor.
What options are available?
- On-site research during the academic year and/or summer with a Tennessee Tech faculty research mentor.
- Off-site research at Amgen Scholars Program.
- Off-site research at a National Laboratory .
- Off-site research at one of many summer NSF-REU programs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates).
- Off-site research at ASBMB Listing of Research Opportunities
Student Research Grant
The Student Research Grant program was established during the Fall 2009 semester to stimulate student research in the Department of Chemistry at Tennessee Tech.
Students may apply for a Student Research Grant by writing a small research proposal and submitting it for potential funding. If the student's proposal is accepted, they will then conduct the research and write a final report. Successful completion of all of the above makes a student eligible for a Student Research Award, presented at our annual Chemistry Awards Banquet.
Student Research Grants are managed by the Student Research Committee. The committee evaluates student written proposals and recommends the most competitive applications for funding based on scientific merit, overall quality, and proposed budget.
To be eligible, a student should be a current undergraduate student, a first or second year M.S. student, or a first or second year EVS Ph.D. student whose primary research is being conducted in the Tennessee Tech chemistry department. Eligible students may submit a proposal for funding consideration to the Student Research Grant Committee. Undergraduate proposals receive first priority towards funding.
The next SRG deadline is March 15, 2023. The completed application package should be submitted electronically as a single PDF file via email to Dr. Xuanzhi Zhan (email@example.com) before 5 p.m. CST on the due date listed. You may use the copier in the chemistry department office (LSC 1104) to scan your file(s). Applications submitted late or incomplete will not be considered.
The Student Research Grant application package must include one original of the following:
Cover page (Including your name, title of proposal, your advisor's name, and the submission date
Proposal (doubled-spaced, font size: 12). The overall format for the proposal is open, but should contain the following sections:
Introduction (or Background)
Project Description (or Research Plan)
Previous results, if applicable and relevant, are encouraged to be included.
Budget Form (download or print from this link)
If a proposal is not selected for funding the student is encouraged to revise, improve, and resubmit the proposal before the next submission deadline.
It is the belief of the committee that a grantee should be accountable for the funds that were used to support the research endeavor. However, the proof of such accountability could take various forms. Presentation of the work at the Tennessee Tech Student Research Day, a local, regional, or national meeting for the discipline in which the research was conducted, publication of results in a journal of the faculty mentor's choice, or submission of a written summary of what results were obtained, if the research project proved unfruitful, would all satisfy this requirement. It is the expectation of the committee that such a dissemination of results be completed in a period of time no longer than one year from the time the research was initiated. Submission of a copy of an abstract or written summary should be submitted electronically to the current chair of the Student Research Grant Committee once the research is to be presented.
Student Research Award/Recognition
Students who received a grant, carried out the proposed research, and fulfilled the dissemination of results requirement are eligible to receive a Student Research Award. This recognition includes a certificate to be presented during the departmental banquet at the end of the spring semester.
Eugene A. Kline and Ruth A. Kline Undergraduate Chemistry Endowment
This research scholarship supports basic research in order to help students develop essential skills in better preparing for a variety of careers. It was started as a result of the appreciation for the good relationship the Klines had with the students, faculty, administrators, and staff on campus and in the community. It is also in honor of their many students who worked hard to succeed.
Eugene A. Kline started at Tennessee Technological University in 1973 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. He became advisor to the Chemical Medical Sciences Club in early 1974. He became the chairman of the department’s scholarship committee in the mid-1980’s and became a health professional advisor in 1990. Ruth Ann Kline taught at Tennessee Technological campus school from 1974 until it closed. She went to teach at Northeast Elementary until 1997 when she retired with a total of 34 years of teaching in several states. The Kline’s daughter, Natalie, was graduated from the University and went to pharmacy school.
The current award is for $3,500 which includes a stipend of $2450 ($1225 Fall; $1225 Spring) for the student, $525 for chemicals and supplies, and $525 for instrument purchase/maintenance to support the applicant’s research experience during the fall and spring semesters.
The next submission deadline for this endowment is TBD.
Must be a current undergraduate student in good standing with current institutional policies.
Must be a chemistry major who may have a strong interest in a career in a health science.
Must be selected on the basis of merit of an original research proposal.
Must be sponsored by a member of the research faculty in the Department of Chemistry.
Must have completed 8 semester hours of organic chemistry (CHEM 3010 and 3020 or equivalent). The scholarship may be offered in the spring, pending successful completion of both courses by the following fall or before using the scholarship funds.
Must choose a professor who is willing to oversee the student’s work in his or her lab.
Must provide progress reports as requested by the Chemistry Department Research Committee.
Must provide a final written report. The report will cover the progress made toward the research proposal. If the student does not reach the final proposal, the report should include an explanation of why.
The scholarship may be renewed if the current recipient receives a satisfactory progress report on research conducted in previous years.
To Apply you will need:
A Tennessee Tech scholarship application for the upcoming year on ScholarWeb must have been submitted (the deadline is usually December 15 of the previous academic year)
An original research proposal written according to the requirements for the Tennessee Tech Student Research Grant Program
A one-page essay discussing the applicant’s educational and professional aspirations
Financial budget for the proposed research (estimates for student stipend, supplies, chemicals and instrument maintenance
All completed applications should be forwarded as a single PDF via email to Dr. Xuanzhi Zhan (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the deadline indicated above.
Swindell/Jackson Summer Undergraduate Research Endowment
The Tennessee Tech Student Research Grant Committee invites undergraduate students to submit applications for support as Swindell/Jackson Undergraduate Research Assistants for research during the summer semester. The assistantship includes a $1,500 stipend to support the applicant’s research experience over a ten-week period. This program is supported by the Swindell/Jackson Research Endowment. The next deadline for the Swindell/Jackson Assistantship is Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
Must be a full-time rising sophomore, junior, or senior in good academic standing
Must be a chemistry major
Must have completed CHEM 3010 and 3020 in addition to 60 total semester hours of credit
Must work with a member of the Tennessee Tech Chemistry Department
Must have completed a Tennessee Tech Scholarship application
A completed application will consist of a Tennessee Tech Scholarship application, an original research proposal written according to the requirements for the Tennessee Tech Student Research Grant Program, and a one page essay discussing the applicant’s educational and professional aspirations; in addition to any financial need. All completed applications should be forwarded as a single PDF via email to Dr. Xuanzhi Zhan (email@example.com).
Note: Recipients of a Tennessee Tech URECA! Mini Grant or CISE Grant for summer are ineligible to apply. For more information please contact Dr. Carroll.
Creative Inquiry Summer Experience (CISE) and Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URECA)
Please click on the links below to find more information about these two research opportunities.
Creative Inquiry Summer Experience (CISE)
2023 Michael P. Jennings Undergraduate Research Fellowship
The Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program supports the research and teaching careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences at undergraduate institutions. Based on institutional nominations, the program provides discretionary funding to faculty at an early stage in their careers. The award is based on accomplishment in scholarly research with undergraduates, as well as a compelling commitment to teaching.
Prof. Jesse D. Carrick of the TN Tech Chemistry Department won a Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar award in 2022 for his research proposal entitled: “Synthetic Approaches to Minor Actinide Separations from Lanthanides Contained within Spent Nuclear Fuel.” Prof. Carrick’s lab is working on designing, preparing, and testing molecules to specifically bind to select f-elements of the periodic table which are common byproducts of nuclear fission.
A portion of the funds from this award are being utilized to initiate a fellowship in the Department of Chemistry to support experiential research opportunities for students during the academic year. Prof. Carrick chose to name this fellowship in honor of his Ph.D. mentor, Prof. Michael P. Jennings of The University of Alabama, who passed away unexpectedly on January 11, 2022 at the age of 46, leaving behind a wife and three young daughters. Prof. Jennings was a brilliant scientist and wonderful person who was loved by all who had the honor of knowing him.
Must be a chemistry major with a science GPA at, or above 3.00
Must be a rising senior with interest in pursuing an advanced degree in chemistry upon completion of the B.S.
Must demonstrate strong personal character
Must have previous research experience
Must have employment experience outside the university
Must be from a rural county
Must have made contributions to university, or external service
Interested students should submit an application package, including a current resume and an essay which addresses the selection criteria above, as well as the applicant’s post-graduate career plans, by March 10, 2023 electronically as a merged PDF to Prof. J. Carrick (firstname.lastname@example.org). Questions can also be referred to Prof. J. Carrick. The successful awardee will be recognized at the annual chemistry department awards banquet.