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Undergraduate Research

Love to investigate the world around you? The undergraduate research program at Keystone College provides you the opportunity to explore and work one-on-one with a faculty mentor.

Gain a competitive edge when seeking employment by learning to use the tools of your chosen profession – whether a spectrometer, an advanced survey technique, or a pottery wheel, you will gain hands-on experience conducting faculty-mentored or student-developed research projects.

Two types of Undergraduate Research:

  • Student-initiated research with faculty supervision.
  • Faculty-initiated research that involves students as individuals or team members.

Benefits of Undergraduate Research

The excitement of undergraduate research and the process of discovery enriches the learning process and creates positive attributes which will last a lifetime. You will develop strong critical thinking skills and build strong academic credentials which will serve you well when applying for employment or graduate schools. Undergraduate research provides:

  • Skills that can translate into the job market
  • Hands-on experience using the tools of your trade
  • Increased opportunity for graduate admission
  • Opportunity to present research at local, regional, and national conferences

Student applications to present at this year’s Spring Undergraduate Research and Creativity Celebration (SURCC) are due by Monday, April 3.

Undergraduate Research and Creativity Celebration

April 26, 2023

Theatre in Brooks

Keystone College students will highlight the findings of their year-long research projects during the annual Spring Undergraduate Research and Creativity Celebration.

9 am Morning Session Opens; Welcome by John F. Pullo, Sr. ’69, Keystone College Interim President
9:30am Keynote Presenter I
10-11:30 am Student Presentations, Part I
11:30-Noon Break
Noon Afternoon Session Opens; Welcome by John F. Pullo, Sr. ’69, Keystone College Interim President
12:30 pm Keynote Presenter II and Research Awards Presentation
1-2:30 pm Student Presentations, Part II

Student Research Projects

The high quality and diversity of our student research projects reflect the excellent work of our students and the commitment of our faculty as mentors and professors. Undergraduate research encompasses both traditional research and creative endeavors.

The talents of many of our graduates are displayed each spring at the annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Celebration.

Jacob Magdon Chemistry Degree Research

Jacob Magdon

Major: Chemistry

Jacob Magdon, a Chemistry graduate and Chemistry Club president, used phycocyanin, a pigment extracted from spirulina, and made a new method to utilize phycocyanin in a dye-sensitized solar cell.

Jacob Magdon

Jacob Magdon, a 2022 Chemistry graduate, won the Excellence in Chemistry, Excellence in Research, and the Thomas G. Cupillari Award for Excellence in the Physical Sciences.

Phycocyanin’s Potential in a Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell

For my project, I used phycocyanin, a pigment extracted from spirulina, and made a new method to utilize phycocyanin easily in a dye-sensitized solar cell. This new method complexed TiO2 and phycocyanin without the need for Nano-TiO2. The solution was analyzed with the help of the University of Scranton Scanning Electron Microscope. Determined that the method was successful, the solution was coated onto FTO-doped glass counter-electrodes with iodide to create the dye-sensitized solar cells. Max power conversion efficiencies were taken, and a high of 26.91% was found, with an average of 14.34%. Compared to the industrial average for solar cells needed to work large scale of 9.6%, a statistical significance was found, with a p-value of 0.0468.Jacob Magdon Project

Currently, I am running my data once more to conclude consistency and will be trying to publish a paper about the project with the help of Dr. Selig.

I chose chemistry at Keystone College because chemistry pushed me more than any other class and the professors that teach the chemistry courses are truly inspiring and motivating. The research opportunities were endless, and I never stop learning!

Chemistry degree Katie Gogolen's painting

Katie Gogolen

Major: Chemistry and Forensic Biology

Katie Gogolen, a double major in Forensic Biology and Chemistry, synthesized pigments in the lab to produce different color oil paints. 

Katie Gogolen

Chemistry and Forensic Biology major, Katie Gogolen, won the 2022 Excellence in Forensic Biology and Excellence in Research awards and is also an Honors Scholar program graduate.

For an honors project, I synthesized pigments in the lab and used them to make oil paints. I made Prussian Blue Paint by mixing together iron (ii) sulfate and potassium ferrocyanide solutions. I dried the pigment, ground it down to a fine powder, and mixed it with linseed oil. I made white paint by adding titanium oxide with linseed oil. I gessoed a canvas and used the paints I made to follow a Bob Ross tutorial called Northern Lights.

I like the Chemistry Department at Keystone because it provides opportunities to take classes studying a wide variety of chemistries, my favorite being Forensic Chemistry because I am also a Forensic Biology major. Studying chemistry broadens horizons and opens up many job opportunities.

Alison Emmons

Alison Emmons

Major: Environmental Resource Management

Alison’s research used technology, similar to Gigapan technology developed by NASA, to create individual, high-resolution pictures of geological formations. It’s a more direct and accurate way of studying geological  formations.