This Newscripts post is by Senior Editor Susan Ainsworth:
Wandering the halls of the undergraduate research poster session at the Anaheim Convention Center on Monday, Associate Editor Linda Wang and I noticed that there seemed to be more students from the U.S. armed forces than we had seen in the past. Intrigued by these neatly uniformed undergrads, we stopped by to talk to some of them and to find out about their research and future plans.
Steve Guidry, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., seemed happy to talk about his poster titled “Composite Armor: Multi-layered Polymer Protection.” He hopes that his research will result in improved armor that may help those who diffuse mines or improvised explosive devices—something he hopes to do for the Navy in Iraq or Afghanistan after he graduates this year.
Linda and I also met a friendly group of cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. One of the cadets, Arizona native Jennie S. Wood, explained the research behind her poster entitled, “High Surface Area Carbon Aerogels: Modifying Preparation to Optimize Structure and Porosity.” Her work, she says, may find use in energy storage and catalysis applications. A senior chemistry major at the academy, she plans to pursue graduate school. She will then complete the required eight years of service as an officer.
Next, we chatted with West Point cadet Michael Swayze, who went over the details of his poster, “Chemical Warfare Agent Surrogate Detection by Metal-Organic Frameworks.” Unable to work with the actual hazardous chemical warfare agents, he is using compounds that have similar vapor pressures. His work may lead to methods that will allow the Army to more quickly detect the release of these dangerous compounds, he says. After graduating from West Point this year, Swayze will serve in Ft. Carson, Colo., in the Medical Service Corps, an appointment he discussed with great enthusiasm.
Having attended two other national ACS meetings, Swayze concurred with our observation that more military undergrads were presenting posters this year. However, he didn’t have an explanation for the uptick. Air Force Academy cadets Casey Hawkins and Scott Pierson offered one theory: the ACS national meeting didn’t coincide with spring break this year.
***All videos taken by Linda Wang.
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