MACON – Dr. Kathryn D. Kloepper, assistant professor of chemistry in Mercer University's College of Liberal Arts, was recently presented the 2013-2014 Undergraduate Analytics Research Program Grant by the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP).
The $10,000 grant is awarded once per year to promote high-quality, innovative undergraduate research and to train and develop the research abilities of undergraduate students in the field of analytical chemistry.
Dr. Kloepper was recognized for her project, titled "Discovery of Robust Biosurfactants for Diverse Agricultural and Environmental Applications." The grant will support two summer undergraduate researchers – rising senior Paden King, a chemistry and English double-major, and rising sophomore Kaydren Orcutt, a chemistry and Spanish double-major – for the project. Remaining funds will be used to purchase research supplies for six students in Dr. Kloepper's research group for the upcoming academic year.
"It is an honor to receive this recognition from SACP," said Dr. Kloepper. "I initiated this project in August 2010 in direct response to a class conversation about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. By involving Mercer students with each step of this project, I provide my undergraduate researchers with opportunities to see how analytical chemistry relates to impactful current events. This grant will enable us to significantly build upon our previous studies and may provide new, more environmentally friendly approaches to oil cleanup."
Dr. Kloepper joined the Mercer faculty in 2009. Her research focuses on using analytical techniques to address "real world" problems. Her current project, for which she received the SACP grant, aims to identify and characterize new biosurfactants from bacteria. Another current project involves quantifying the desorption and adsorption of various metals from kaolin. She earned her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Organized in 1942, the SACP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of analytical chemistry through science education. The society provides opportunities for continuing education to keep its members current with new technologies, instrumentation and methods, as well as awards, scholarships and grants, both locally and nationally.