Polymer Chemistry Research Experience

Open to rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Facilities
July 27-31, 2020 | Duration: 1 Week
Commuters: $850.00 Residential: $1835
Application Information: 

PrerequisitesStudents looking to explore a career in science, gain valuable research experience, and/or are interested in chemistry are encouraged to apply for this program. Students must have completed or be currently enrolled in basic high school chemistry class. Applications will be selected based on GPA, science/tech/engineering/math related activities, student response questions, and teacher reference forms.

Application details: In addition to the online application, students must submit a copy of their transcript and two recommendations. Supplemental information including recommendation letters, transcripts, etc. can be copies, we do not need originals or official copies. Applications will not be reviewed if they are incomplete. Please follow the directions on the application page carefully.

Application LInk: https://rpi.regfox.com/apply-2020

Questions?: If you have any questions regarding submitting your application, please contact Summer@Rensselaer staff at (518) 276-6809 or email soaps@rpi.edu


This research program provides students with the opportunities to (1) have hands-on activities of making samples by 3D printing of plastics and (2) characterize and identify plastic materials using cutting-edge FTIR spectroscopy and thermal analysis instrument in polymer center at RPI, (3) promote their understanding on the thermal properties of polymers, such as glass transition and melting temperatures, which will be the main consideration to dictate the usage of polymers in modern life and (4) ultimately enhance their awareness of plastic recycling issues. 

What You Will Learn: 

This program offers an introduction to polymer chemistry, exploring fundamentals and then the real-world, everyday uses of different types of plastic materials ( e.g. soda bottles, bottle caps, milk jugs, grocery bags, etc.).  The program combines hands-on lab work with lectures aimed at expanding students' understanding of organic chemistry subjects.

Students will explore 3D printing of polymers by having hands-on activities of making 3D printed polymer parts. They will also learn the proper use of thermal analysis equipment to identify the glass transition and melting temperatures of plastic materials.  Specifically, during the laboratory sessions, students will acquire hands-on experience to operate and obtain data from Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR) spectroscopy and specialized differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) equipment.  Many different types of plastic materials will be analyzed with DSC under the supervision of graduate students and faculty instructors.

Students will contribute to the research group website of Professor Chang Y. Ryu (https://homepages.rpi.edu/~ryuc/).  Plastic sample analysis results will be summarized and archived on this website to acknowledge their excellent contributions in the program.  

Faculty Profile: 

Dr. Chang Y. Ryu is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and is Director of the NYS Center for Polymer Synthesis at Rensselaer. He has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a B.S.,M.S., in Chemical Technology from Seoul National University. Upon earning his Ph.D, he served as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Calirfornia. He then went on to join Rensselaer in November of 2000 and later won the NSF CAREER Award in 2005.


Program Cost and Accommodations: 

Commuter Cost is $850.00 There is a $425.00 non-refundable deposit required in order to reserve your spot in the program, once the student is academically accepted. This cost includes tuition and program materials only. Commuters must furnish their own transportation to and from campus. Check-in will be on Monday morning and Check-out will be on Friday.

Residential Cost is $1835.00. There is a $425.00 non-refundable deposit required in order to reserve your spot in the program, once the student is academically accepted. This cost includes tuition, program materials, field trips, room and board, and all residential activities. Check-in will be on Sunday afternoon prior to the start of the program and Check-out will be on Friday.

Accepted students will receive inormation regarding accommodations, arrival/departure times, and full program details upon registration. Please note that all students will be required to submit health and medical information (including immunization records) before arrival on campus. All residential students must possess medical insurance.

Important Dates: 

January 7 – Application opens
March 31 – Application deadline 
April 30 – Students are notified of their acceptance
May 15 - Registration deadline for accepted students
June 1 – Final day to submit health forms
June 1- Final payment is due for accepted/registered students

Registration Information:  Accepted students should register as soon as possible after admission. A link will be provided to you upon your acceptance.

Other Notes: 


High School