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Project SEED Draws, Fosters Future STEM Students

This summer, six area high school students are doing hands-on research as part of Project SEED, a Duquesne University initiative that provides high-achieving, economically disadvantaged high school students the opportunity to participate in a STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and math) research project.

The eight-week program was developed by Dr. Jennifer Aitken, a chemistry and biochemistry professor in the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (BSNES), who places the students in a University lab working alongside Duquesne faculty or graduate student mentors.

“Project SEED works to encourage, empower and inspire students to pursue a career in the chemical sciences,” said Aitken, who directs the program. “The mentoring is the most important part and has made a big impact on many of our alumni. Several say that the program helped to shape their careers and even change their lives.”

The following students started Project SEED on June 15 and will participate through Friday, Aug. 4:

  • Israa Abdulmuttaleb – Allderdice
  • Bryonna Beeson – Shaler
  • Danielle Beres – West Mifflin
  • Gildas Kodjo – Sto-Rox
  • Zayauna Liddell – Obama Academy
  • Asia Parker – Carrick.

When the program concludes, the students will present their results at the annual BSNES Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium, slated for Friday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bayer Learning Center and Mellon Hall of Science. Presentations by the Project SEED students range from Fluorescent Sensors for Detecting Lead in Drinking Water to Mutagenesis of Serotonin Transporter for Structural Characterization.

Since it was launched in 2003, Project SEED has hosted more than 60 students. Nearly two-thirds have been female, and more than half have been African-American, Hispanic or biracial students—all under-represented groups in STEM-related careers.

Project SEED is funded by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh, the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and the local Pittsburgh Section of the ACS.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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