A Saginaw Valley State University student is spending her summer pursuing a passion for chemistry research through a highly competitive program at a university nationally renowned for its graduate programs in chemistry.
Emily Dzurka, a chemistry major from Bay City, is participating in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from May 31 to Aug. 5. She will perform research with faculty, staff and students in the university’s Department of Chemistry, which U.S. News & World Report in 2014 ranked No. 9 nationally among higher education chemistry departments.
“I was so ecstatic when I found out,” Dzurka said. “I would love to go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school, so getting my feet wet like this is an amazing opportunity.”
Dzurka already has experience in chemistry research through opportunities at SVSU.
Through an SVSU partnership, she has worked as a co-op student at The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, where she managed analytical instrumentation and performed sample testing.
On campus, she teamed with advisor Stephanie Brouet, SVSU associate professor of chemistry, on undergraduate research projects involving molecule synthesis.
Brouet said about 700 people applied for 15 spots in UW-Madison’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program.
“So this is a very big opportunity,” Brouet said.
Having witnessed Dzurka’s determination to tackle complex research projects, Brouet is confident Dzurka is prepared for her latest challenge.
“She excels in lab work,” Brouet said. “She’s very self-motivated, very reliable and very professional in her approach. What’s most impressive is her dedication to organic chemistry. She’s very passionate about what she’s doing.”
A 2012 graduate of Bay City Western High School, Dzurka plans to earn a bachelor’s degree from SVSU in May 2017. She said laboratory work is one of her passions.
“I like to be in the lab, and enjoy running my own reactions to figure out what works and what doesn’t work,” Dzurka said. “They’re like puzzles that I like to figure out.”
Dzurka said she hopes one day to work full-time in research at Dow.