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Sophomore Heather Nees presents findings and ties for first place in OSU competition

DECEMBER 12, 2003 - Heather Nees '06 recently competed with and beat nearly 40 undergraduate and graduate students from The Ohio State University (OSU) while tying for first place at the annual Evans Lecture recently held on the OSU campus.

Nees' presentation tied for the first place award from the Inorganic Chemistry Division. The work she presented was the result of her summer fellowship at Muskingum this past summer.

Her project was centered on preparing and characterizing a variety of metal-organic compounds and polymers. The target property she is most interested in is the ability of these materials to remove metal ions from solutions. A practical application of this process includes removal of homogeneous catalysts from solution reactions. Homogeneous catalysts are used widely in chemical industries to make processes used to produce consumer goods much more efficiently and economically.

Nees's research advisor, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Paul Szalay, is very pleased with her work. "Heather's productivity in the laboratory last summer and the quality of the presentations she has given recently of that work would be impressive for any undergraduate student. This is especially true for Heather considering she is only now in her sophomore year," he said.

Nees feels the research she has already completed will greatly benefit her future academic career at Muskingum and beyond. The work not only gave her experience in chemistry and lab work, but she learned how identify different chemical reactions that are critical to her work.

"I'm taking organic chemistry now and the experience has really helped me in the classroom. It has also given me an edge in the research field and taught me how to present my findings, which will come in handy down the road," Nees said.

Still more research is ahead for Nees. "I have enjoyed my researching experience at Muskingum and I am sure it will lead me to many more great opportunities," she said.

Dr. Szalay supports Nees and her outstanding work. "Heather has the capability to accomplish virtually anything she wants. She complements her considerable academic talent with an amiable demeanor and an unrelenting work ethic. She is capable of balancing a multitude of responsibilities while continuing to excel," he said.

She encourages other students to take advantage of opportunities to participate in fellowships or internships. "For anyone considering applying for a research fellowship or internship, I recommend it. It gives you insight to what research is about and also lets you see what things are like outside of the classroom," she said.