Two high school students from Canton Central School are gaining valuable research experience under the guidance of Kodak CAMP Distinguished Professor and Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science Mario Wriedt.
Maya Thomas and Griffin Scafidi-McGuire, both rising juniors at Canton Central, are nearly halfway through their six-week research assistantship, part of a MPS-High supplement to Wriedt’s current National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant.
“They are very excited to be in the lab. It is a big change for them compared to the classroom,” Wriedt said of the young researchers. “They are working on the discovery of new MOF materials, which hopefully can solve some of our most important energy problems we face currently as a society.”
MOFs, or metal-organic frameworks, are a new class of highly porous materials that are structured similarly to a jungle gym, where the nodes represent metal clusters or metal ions, the struts are organic ligands, and the resulting pores of the framework are accessible for guest molecules.
For both Thomas and Scafidi-McGuire, this opportunity has allowed them to further explore their interest in science.
“I like chemistry, it’s very interesting to me. We are doing a whole bunch of different reactions to try and make MOFs,” Thomas said. “It seemed like a really interesting experience to have, to work in a college lab doing chemistry.”
“Especially this year after taking chemistry in school, I’m definitely more interested in chemistry as something that I might want to go into,” Scafidi McGuire added. “I have always liked science so I just thought this would be a really good opportunity for me to see what a lab setting is like.”
While Scafidi-McGuire said Clarkson has been a school of interest for him all along, Thomas said she is now more seriously considering the University upon graduating high school.
“I was not ever looking at Clarkson. I was trying to look at other places farther away, not so close to home,” she said. “Clarkson has definitely come more onto my radar since coming to work here.”