University of Minnesota
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Undergraduate receives Excellence in Science Award

Undergraduate researcher Sammy Shaker, who is advised by Professor Andreas Stein, was honored for his achievements at the Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium. Shaker received an Excellence in Science Award from the Minnesota Academy of Science in recognition of his contributions to the field of chemistry through undergraduate research. Ten other University of Minnesota students also participated in the symposium, including Nathan Klein for is advised by Professor Christy Haynes.

Shaker presented his research project titled, Morphological Control in Pechini Gel Synthesis: A Study of Porous Metal Oxides. The aim of Shaker's study was to generalize a synthesis of three-dimensinoally ordered macroporous (3DOM) microspheres in ceria-based systems; previously, 3DOM microspheres were only synthesized in cerium oxide-based systems. Because microsphere formation is dependent upon reaching certain polymer lengths, ideal reagent ratios used in the Pechini procedure must be investigated beforehand. To investigate the reagent ratios, Shaker synthesized various compositions in different reagents and then viewed the compositions under a scanning electron microscope to determine the morphology of the composition.

At the 2014 Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium, students presented more than 75 posters and 44 oral presentations.