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Muskingum College’s Heather Nees will present research findings to American Chemical Society Conference, October 19-22


OCTOBER 18, 2003 - Muskingum College student Heather Nees '06 is about to give a report on how she spent her summer vacation—on a very grand scale.

Nees will present her summer research at the Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Pittsburgh, PA being held from October 19 through October 22. The conference typically draws more than 1,000 scientists, researchers and engineers from many states, as well as some international participants.

Nees began the work that led to this opportunity when she was selected as a part of Muskingum’s 2003 Summer Fellows program. As a Summer Fellow, she was able to concentrate her time and efforts and on a very complicated task. Her project is 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.

Practical applications of this process include removal of homogeneous catalysts from solution reactions. Homogeneous catalysts are used with widely in chemical industries to make processes used to produce consumer goods much more efficiently and economically. A good example is manufacturing the products that soften water and making those products work better.

The greater issue in the project is that removing these catalysts from the products of these reactions can be difficult, and the need to simplify it has provided the motivation to identify new catalyst scavengers.

Nees’ research advisor is Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Paul Szalay, Jr., and he was quick to point out, “Heather’s work has been excellent, so this is a good step for her. Muskingum’s Summer Fellows program really helped her focus on this project and move it forward significantly.” He went on to say that it is somewhat unusual for a student to present research findings this early in an academic career. “Most students don’t delve into research this specific, this soon. Heather can be proud of the work she has done,“ he said.