Amanda Nichols

Undergraduate Research Experience

During the summer of 2001, I had the opportunity to work at the University of Oklahoma through the SURF program. I worked under Dr. Wai Tak Yip, a physical chemist, on single molecule spectroscopy research. I specifically worked on trying to trap a single molecule within a sol-gel matrix. Undergraduate research is a great opportunity to explore your options in your field of study. I learned how to use scientific equipment that I would not have been given the opportunity to learn otherwise. For example, in my lab I used a confocal microscope and argon - ion laser. I learned extensively about my field of research and about other current research projects. Participating in undergraduate research taught me how to work with others, think creatively, and improve my presentation skills. I presented my research and wrote a paper for the SURF program at OU. Later that fall, I presented a poster in San Antonio, Texas at the ACS regional conference. I also delivered a presentation at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma at the annual OAS conference. Both opportunities helped me become a competent speaker. Undergraduate research taught me that I would enjoy graduate school - where I would be able to earn a masters or doctorate doing research. Presenting my research and interacting with others also has led me to want to teach chemistry. I will take the education route after I graduate Oklahoma Christian University this next April.