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Investigation of Asymmetric Copper(I) phenanthrolines


Name: Nikki Swanson
Year of Graduation: May 2011
Hometown: Ashland, WI
Major: Chemistry, with minor in Mathematics

Name: Dr. Kari Cunningham, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Research Specialty: Inorganic Photochemistry



The undergraduate research project I am currently working on is to synthesize a new asymmetric phenanthroline ligand that will bind to a copper(I) ion. We will examine the photochemistry of the resulting copper (I) complex. The project focuses on organic synthesis and photochemistry. The expectation for summer 2009 was to complete the project and report since I am also continuing my research with an independent study for course credits in fall 2009.

Copper1 ligand
Figure 1: The Numbering scheme for the 1,10-phenanthroline ligand. 

10-phenathroline

Figure 2: The copper(I) complex of the ligand. The asymmetric nature of the complex is highlighted using grey and black spheres to represented differing alkyl groups.
I became interested in undergraduate research because I wanted to have more experience with chemistry so I decided to do summer research. I knew it would help me further my educational process since I would like to go on to graduate school. The project seemed very interesting because I wanted a summer job involving chemistry and out of the choices available the photochemistry part sounded interesting and neat since it involved bright colors and luminescence. Being at SNC all summer also made me much more independent having to live on my own all summer rather than going home. I enjoyed being on campus all summer.  
     
I knew I wanted to do undergraduate research since I came to school here for chemistry. Talking to my advisor and finding out that getting paid to do something in the chemistry field at a young age I thought was really cool. Plus I would like to go on to graduate school and undergraduate research gives a good perspective on an application of how much experience in a lab the student has had. At SNC, this research has definitely made me more confident in the lab along with my homework and in class. It is great practice and I learned a lot of skills and techniques I use throughout all of my classes.
     
All in all, one of the most important things I received from the undergraduate research program at SNC is the confidence and knowledge I gained for my classes and labs.  It was a great experience and if I could do it again I would. It made me realize that chemistry is more than just in a textbook, being in the lab was a lot of fun.  I am really glad I chose to do research for chemistry.   

Professor Cunningham
Nikki and I began working on my project her sophomore year by securing funds to support our summer research from the Petroleum Research Fund’s SUMR program -- a grant designed to support research experience for undergraduates from underrepresented minority groups. Over the 10-week Summer program, we were able to conclude the two part process of making a ligand and then creating the corresponding copper(I) complex. Our findings will be presented in California at the national meeting of the American Chemical  Society in Spring 2010.

2009 research students

Summer 2009 research students: Sara (’11), Elyse (’11), Paul (’10), Shuai (’10) and Nikki (’11)
Nikki Swanson:
“I knew I wanted to do undergraduate research since I came to school here for chemistry. Talking to my advisor and finding out that getting paid to do something in the chemistry field at a young age I thought was really cool.  Plus I would like to go on to graduate school and undergraduate research gives a good perspective on an application of how much experience in a lab the student has had. At SNC, this research has definitely made me more confident in the lab along with my homework and in class. It is great practice and I learned a lot of skills and techniques I use throughout all of my classes.”



St. Norbert Collaborative

Phone: (920) 403-3147
Fax: (920) 403-4086
E-mail: collaborative@snc.edu


St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181