Summer MAterials Research @ Tulane (SMART)


Summer 2015 REU Participants

Jasmine Wood

University of South Florida

Jasmine Wood“This was my first time doing research as an undergraduate, and I could not have asked for a more fulfilling experience. I was initially unsure what to expect out of research or living at Tulane; however, after just a week of being in the lab and exploring New Orleans, I felt at home here. It was quite exciting to know I was contributing to the field of organic chemistry in a hands-on, collaborative setting with my research group. The graduate student I worked one-on-one with was always ready to demonstrate the proper lab techniques and answer any of my questions or concerns. This REU experience gave me the opportunity to launch my research ambitions as well as let me appreciate New Orleans's culture and identity.”

Sarah Bierbrier

Tulane University

Sarah Bierbrier“This REU program was my first research opportunity as an undergraduate. The projects we worked on opened my eyes to the many different methods that can be used in a research setting. Through the summer, I became comfortable working with the Linux platform and GROMACS software that we used to measure the free energies of various alkanes and alkenes. Being able to do research at Tulane, where I also attend school, has enabled me to develop connections that can be maintained throughout the rest of my undergraduate career. The flexibility of this program allowed for time to explore New Orleans. I was able to attend various festivals and events throughout the summer which really added to the experience.”

Amna Bhutta

Rutgers University

Amna Bhutta“Working in Dr. Ashbaugh’s lab at Tulane University has been a very fun and enriching research experience. Having never done research before, I was uncertain of whether or not I wanted to do research in the future. Participating in this REU has solidified my decision to pursue a research related career. I was fortunate to have worked under the mentorship of PhD student Wes Barnett, who was good-natured, knowledgeable, and always willing to provide guidance along the way. The simulations would take days to complete, and instead of just waiting Wes challenged our minds by providing us with side projects. In my case, writing a program in C++ to calculate the radial distribution function. We presented our results to Dr. Ashbaugh at bi-weekly meetings where he provided feedback and suggested different approaches we could take to improve our results. Dr. Ashbaugh constantly engaged with us throughout our stay and made this a memorable experience.”

Jorge Alves

Dillard University

Jorge Alves“Tulane University provided me a great experience in their REU program. I developed many useful skills and techniques with the support of professors and graduate students throughout the duration of the project. In addition to advancing my abilities as a scientist, I learned how important polymers are in their respective fields. Not only did I learn about science, but also how rich New Orleans is culturally and historically. Living in a city that is so welcoming is wonderful because you feel like you are home. So, I could say New Orleans has really become a part of me.”