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The Washington Research Foundation Fellowship

Jessica Smith, Chemistry, Biochemistry - 2007-08 RFAU

I've been lucky to have a lot of enlightening research experiences which have helped me refined my interests within my major, Chemistry. For the last five summers and most school years I've contributed to research projects in a few different labs, giving me a taste of everything from applications of bioluminescence to electrical circuits to interactions between proteins and metal nanoparticles. The Washington Research Foundation generously awarded my first Research Fellowship for Advanced Undergraduates in 2006 for work I'd been conducting with Prof. Beth Traxler in Microbiology concerning protein-protein interactions in membrane protein complexes. This award was particularly special to me, because the project I was on was under-funded. In order for me to keep working on it, I needed to find independent funding to pay my stipend. The people in the undergraduate research office were so helpful, particularly in allowing me to receive funding on a different schedule than the other awardees so that I wouldn't need to put my research on hold to wait for funding. I received another RFAU for this school year to study gold and silver nanoparticles with potential applications to biosensing and solar cells. Getting the RFAU again allowed me to switch research projects and explore another aspect of a very broad field without having to juggle a part-time job along with classes and research.