Chemistry Faculty work with Science Bound Students

Science Bound is a program started by Iowa State University to empower Iowa students of color to pursue degrees and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The program works with middle and high school students from Des Moines, Denison and Marshalltown.

Each summer, the Young Engineers and Scientists (YES) program at Iowa State works with Science Bound students. YES is a six-week paid internship where students work with a faculty mentor on research in STEM disciplines at Iowa State. YES also holds seminars for the students to focus on their academic and professional development.

Emily Smith, professor of chemistry, is among the faculty mentors working with YES this summer. Smith will work with a student to use light to investigate properties of different types of samples. They will focus on the effects of temperature on chemicals that have intriguing but poorly understood properties. The Science Bound students bring a fresh perspective and excitement to the lab.

Javier Vela, associate professor of chemistry, started a local chapter of Project SEED at Iowa State, a summer research program through the American Chemistry Society to give economically disadvantaged students a glimpse of what it’s like to be a chemist.

Vela works with Science Bound to recruit students for the program. This year there were more than 40 applicants. Three students were chosen from Roosevelt and North High School in Des Moines and will work with Vela; Vincenzo Venditti, assistant professor of chemistry; and Jared Anderson, professor of chemistry.