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BPC Nursing Student Completes Undergraduate Science Research


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Mar 19, 2024
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BPC Nursing Student Completes Undergraduate Science Research​

MOUNT VERNON – Brewton-Parker College (BPC) Junior nursing major, Yanique O’Connor had the opportunity to perform a summer undergraduate research project at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando during the summer of 2023. Dr. Sampyo Hong, Professor of Physical Sciences, was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation in 2020 and was able to select BPC students to participate in summer undergraduate research funded by the grant.

As a nursing major, O’Connor initially hesitated to take on a research project in the natural sciences. However, she was honored to be offered the opportunity and intrigued by the subject. To prepare herself for the experience, she enrolled in the Introduction to Nanoscience course taught by Dr. Hong. Although the concepts were unlike anything she had ever studied, the course helped ease her anxiety about the upcoming summer and increased her excitement for the project.

The undergraduate research performed by students like O’Connor is an excellent opportunity to gain science education, inspiration, personal, and professional development. Through this program, students experience hands-on learning, practical research skills, increased interest, and expanded professional references. Both the students and the college benefit from this research through sound science education and improved graduation and retention rates.

During O’Connor’s time at UFC, she participated in the investigation of the “Surface Acidity Modulation of Pt/CeO2 Single Atom Catalysts (SACs) for Methanol Decomposition.” Kailong Ye, a graduate student and a leading investigator on the project, guided O’Connor through the research. Methanol Decomposition is a valuable and significant process that enables the conversion of methanol into CO and hydrogen gas. O’Connor observed that various industries, including transportation, can benefit from this process by aiding the global search for clean energy alternatives.

O’Connor was involved in the preparation of four different Pt/CeO2 catalysts, of which the catalysts provide catalytic activity, making them effective for use in the decomposition of methanol. In her end-of-the-semester report, O’Connor explained that the catalysts were prepared through the Incipient Wetness Method (IWI), involving the incorporation of a liquid phase in the form of a catalyst precursor into a solid porous material, referred to as the support. Further testing consisted of Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (DRIFTS) to measure the analytical representation of the surface characteristics and chemical activity of materials. O’Connor explained that the measurements taken through DRIFTS “can be analyzed to reveal mechanisms such as the active sites on the surface of the catalysts, which is useful in improving the performance of the catalysts.”

O’Connor shared her thoughts on the research: “This experience was extremely enlightening, and I am grateful to have received such an opportunity. As a result of my participation in this research project, I was exposed to a whole new field of study and got to learn about some very interesting scientific concepts. All the support and aid that I received from the faculty at both UCF and BPC helped to make the experience a memorable one.”

In response to O’Connor’s involvement in the project, Dr. Hong stated, “The research project she [Yanique O’Connor] participated in involved state-of-the-art nanoscience experiments. She made important contributions to the projects. I am very proud of her. She did a great job. I’m sure this experience will be a valuable asset in her career journey.” Brewton-Parker College is the only accredited four-year Christian college south of Macon and north of Jacksonville, FL. As a comprehensive Georgia Baptist institution, Brewton-Parker College provides liberal arts and professional programs in a learning community of shared Christian values. Through the application of biblical truth in scholarship and a co-curricular focus on character, servant leadership, and cultural engagement, the college strives to provide a transformational experience that equips the whole student for lifelong learning and service in Christ.

Visit Brewton-Parker College online at www.bpc.edu.


The post BPC Nursing Student Completes Undergraduate Science Research first appeared on Brewton-Parker College.

The post BPC Nursing Student Completes Undergraduate Science Research appeared first on Brewton-Parker College.
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