Matt Streeter ’13 has always loved chemistry, so when Professor Aaron Amick posted a summer undergraduate research position working in the lab, Matt jumped at the opportunity to apply.
He is one of 12 students conducting undergraduate research in the natural sciences this summer, living on campus and earning a stipend in their chosen fields.
Matt’s research involves developing a new method of indenoannulation, which is the process used to synthesize organic molecules that could be used in solar cells. The goal is to define a more viable and efficient source of alternative energy using solar power. The current process is complex and costly.
“We want to create molecules used in solar cells with a hybrid method — a cross between acid-catalyzed indenoannulation and one that uses a palladium catalyzed reaction,” explains Matt.
No simple task. This research is a culmination of Dr. Amick’s work over the past three years, including two prior summers spent performing the initial stages.
“Our goal by the end of the summer is to be able to optimize this new process and effectively synthesize molecules that can be used in making solar cells. Using less palladium and a shorter reaction time,” says Matt, “we expect to produce a wider range of compounds.”
Matt recognizes the value of hands-on experience. “I’ve progressed a lot in two years,” he admits. “Prior to freshman year, I didn’t have much lab experience. The great faculty-student ratio has allowed me to go to Dr. Amick with questions of all kinds.”
“This research has really helped me to mature as a scientist. I think that I would like to continue conducting research in some way as part of my profession — but I have six years to decide on the specifics.”
In the meantime, Matt keeps busy with the String Orchestra, Habitat for Humanity, and Relay for Life. On campus he is a Resident Assistant, course mentor for organic chemistry, chemistry tutor, secretary for the American Chemistry Society and President of the new Gamma Eta chapter of the National Honor Society for Chemistry.
“The College really encourages you to perform at your best. My advice to others: delve right into your studies and make it your passion.”
- Resident Assistant
- Course Mentor for Organic Chemistry
- President of Gamma Sigma Epsilon
- Secretary of the American Chemical Society
- Committee Member for Relay for Life
- Peer Tutor
- Habitat for Humanity
- Member of the String Orchestra
- Other Honors: Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society; Psi Chi, Psychology Honor Society; Omicron Delta Theta, Leadership Honor Society; Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows; John S. Toll Science and Mathematics Fellow