News Details

September 01, 2015

Senior Completes Competitive Internship at Science Undergraduate Laboratory

West Virginia Wesleyan College senior Asa Nichols, a chemistry major and math and physics minor from St. Marys, WV, completed the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado.  

The SULI program is designed to complement academic programs and provide students with valuable, hands-on research experience in world-class laboratory facilities under the direction of scientific and technical staff who serve as research advisors and mentors in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) projects. Projects focus on developing environmentally and economically beneficial clean energy technologies to support undergraduates in the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.  

Nichols spent 10 weeks engaged in research under the guidance of a laboratory scientist or engineer studying ligand exchange and surface chemistry of Germanium Quantum dots to help move toward the development of thin, conductive films and core-shell quantum dot technology. 

“Quantum dots are tiny particles that absorb and emit light and are currently used in photovoltaic arrays and color displays,” stated Nichols.  “I used solution phase NMR spectroscopy to prove ligand exchange and witnessed the first equilibrium-controlled ligand exchange on a Germanium Quantum dot.  My findings are currently being written for publication in a scientific journal.” 

While at NREL, interns also attend enriching professional development activities featuring laboratory tours, speakers on scientific developments at NREL, and workshops that provide guidance and development of professional skills in writing technical research papers, oral presentation, and posters. 

At the end of his internship, Nichols presented a poster of his research. 

"My summer research experience at NREL helped me professionally through networking, technical writing workshops, and scientific experimentation,” he commented.  “I also had a great time exploring the rugged mountains of Colorado through climbing, backpacking, and fishing."



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