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WKU students conducting chemical research in South Korea

WKU students John Biechele Speziale and John Logan Reynolds are conducting chemical research for 10 weeks this summer at Changwon National University in South Korea.

WKU chemistry students John Logan Reynolds (left) and John Biechele Speziale are conducting research  this summer at Changwon National University in South Korea.

WKU chemistry students John Logan Reynolds (left) and John Biechele Speziale are conducting research this summer at Changwon National University in South Korea.

Speziale and Reynolds are working in the laboratory of Professor Yong-Ill Lee with a group that includes students from South Korea, Vietnam and Mongolia. The WKU chemistry majors’ summer research activity is funded through a National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students grant awarded to Professors Moon-Soo Kim and Eric Conte in the Department of Chemistry.

“I am so thankful to have been selected to go on this trip to experience a different culture while at the same time furthering the field of science,” said Reynolds, a sophomore from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “This grant has taken me places I never thought I would go while allowing me to pursue one of my passions of learning new science.”

The students are four weeks into their projects that involve preparing carbon, zinc and silver based nanoparticles that have luminescent properties and will be used for applications in analytical chemistry.

They have been presenting a summary of their work each week at Professor Lee’s group meetings and have been gathering data for a manuscript submission in a well-regarded chemistry journal.

“I think that being a part of this trip has been an amazing opportunity for me to learn about a different culture while I further my love of chemistry,” said Speziale, a senior from Grayson. “Getting to know the students, as well as my project has been enjoyable to say the least, and I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.”

The students also have met with the president of Changwon National University, have toured a South Korean industrial factory and will be traveling to Seoul, South Korea’s capital, to see cultural sites. Dr. Conte, the students’ advisor, accompanied them on the first four weeks of the summer research experience.

Contact: Chemistry Department, (270) 745-3457

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