Polymer Chemistry Research Experience

Open to rising 10th-12th graders
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Facilities
July 23-27, 2018 | 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.

Please note: Online applications must be submitted before supplemental information can be received. Supplemental information including recommendation letters, transcripts, etc. can be copies, we do not need originals.

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

The goal of this research week is to provide students with the opportunities to (1) characterize and identify plastic materials using cutting-edge thermal analysis instruments, (2) promote their understanding of 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 (3) ultimately enhance their awareness of plastic recycling issues. Because different types of plastics do not mix, they have to be separated for the recycling and reuse of the plastic materials.

What You Will Learn: 

This program offers an introduction to polymer chemistry, exploring 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 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 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 (http://homepages.rpi.edu/~ryuc/research.html).  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. 

Residential Cost is $1835. 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 room and board, program materials, residential events and programs, and any academic related materials. Check-in will be on Sunday afternoon prior to the start of the program and Check-out will be on Friday at the conclusion of the program.

Accepted students will receive information 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 before arrival on campus. All residential students must possess medical insurance.

Important Dates: 


January 1, 2018 – Application Opens
March 31, 2018 – Application Deadline 
April 30 – Students are notified of their acceptance.
June 1, 2018 – Final day to submit Health Info
June 1, 2018- 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