RJ Lee Group Partners with Chemistry Program for High School Students


RJ Lee Group is one of several local businesses that has partnered with Duquesne University to support a program that provides research opportunities to outstanding local high school students. Project SEED, which is in its fourth year at Duquesne, exposes economically disadvantaged high school students to hands-on research as they work one-on-one with faculty and mentors at Duquesne. The program operates under the guidelines of the American Chemical Society, but depends mainly on donations from local companies.

RJ Lee Group is one of several local businesses that has partnered with Duquesne University to support a program that provides research opportunities to outstanding local high school students. Project SEED, which is in its fourth year at Duquesne, exposes economically disadvantaged high school students to hands-on research as they work one-on-one with faculty and mentors at Duquesne. The program operates under the guidelines of the American Chemical Society, but depends mainly on donations from local companies.

Through its participation, RJ Lee Group is helping to nurture and develop a new generation of scientists. This year, each student is working on his or her own cutting-edge research projects under the supervision of their faculty mentors. For example, one student is examining a more energy-efficient way to prepare inter-metallic compounds, which can be utilized in solders and as superconductors, using a microwave. Another student is working on a computational chemistry problem, studying protein-drug interactions that could be important to the pharmaceutical industry.

Students, who receive stipends for their work, also have opportunity to compete for $5,000 college scholarships. Students from the Duquesne program have won scholarships for the last two years. The eight-week program, which wrapped up in August, puts students in the lab or in the field Monday through Friday, eight hours a day.

“The key is they get in-depth experience,” said Dr. Jennifer Aitken, project coordinator and assistant professor of chemistry. “They learn how to use equipment that some undergraduates don’t even get to use. They make contacts within the field by participating on the field trips, and they have the opportunity to gain financial aid.”

Leave a comment