REU in Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis


Welcome! This National Science Foundation REU program offers an immersive, 10-week summer research experience for current freshman, sophomores, and juniors in the areas of Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis. These topics are increasingly valued in industrial and academic settings due to the environmental concerns associated with conventional catalysts, feedstocks, and solvents. Participants in this program will have the opportunity to design, conduct, and optimize green chemical transformations while receiving hands-on research mentorship from a faculty member within ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences. Additionally, this program offers professional development and networking opportunities that prepare undergraduate participants for graduate studies, industrial positions, and non-traditional career paths.

*Application for Summer 2022 has been closed.

Program Information

Participants will travel to Tempe, AZ and conduct research with a faculty member in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences from May 23, 2022 until July 29, 2022. Each student who enrolls in the program will receive:

  • $6,000 Stipend ($600 per week for 10 weeks, paid biweekly following arrival)
  • Summer Housing on the Tempe Campus
  • Travel Reimbursement (up to $1,000)
  • $500 Credit for On-Campus Dining

Many of the students who participate in this program will have little or no prior research experience. Therefore, this site will offer training in the practice of sustainable chemistry, professional development workshops, career advice, and opportunities to network with members of the REU, ASU, and broader chemistry communities. Professional development workshops will cover science ethics, the writing of publications and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship proposals, as well as resume and CV preparation. The networking portion of this program will offer participants the opportunity to meet with graduate students, industrial chemists, and academic chemists who can offer insight into the different career paths that are available to early-career scientists. On a weekly basis, students will also have the opportunity to experience life in the Phoenix Metropolitan area and possible excursions include the Desert Botanical Garden, a Diamondbacks Baseball Game, and local museums.

Mentors and Projects

This project is unique because many of the participants of this program will conduct research in neighborhoods that are shared between faculty mentors with interests in Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis. This open and collaborative environment will afford participants the opportunity to spend time with REU colleagues and researchers from other laboratories. The following faculty mentors are planning to accept REU participants next summer, whose research interests cover a variety of topics:

  • Laura Ackerman (Organic Chemistry) - Identification and Development of Abundant Metal Catalysts for Strong Bond Activation
  • Kyle Biegasiewicz (Bioorganic Chemistry) - Development of Peroxidase Enzymes for Late-Stage Functionalization Reactions
  • Christina Birkel (Materials Chemistry) - Optimizing the Synthesis of MAX phases and MXenes
  • Matthias Heyden (Computational Chemistry) - Exploring Non-Ideal Solvent Mixtures
  • Anne Jones (Bioinorganic Chemistry) - Enzymes as Electrocatalysts
  • Don Seo (Solid-State Inorganic Chemistry) - Porous Organic-Modified Alkali Aluminosilicate Hybrid Materials for Sustainability Applications
  • Ryan Trovitch (Organometallic Chemistry) - Preparation of Polymers Using Earth-Abundant Manganese Catalysts

Haven’t found a research topic that you love? No problem! ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences features approximately 60 research groups that may have an opportunity available as part of this program. For a full set of research topics and possible mentors, please click here.


You must meet the following requirements to apply:

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident.
  • Should be a current freshman, sophomore, or junior at a U.S. college that does not have a graduate program in chemistry.

Students from community colleges are strongly encouraged to apply. Women and underrepresented minorities are also strongly encouraged to apply.

Your application will require:

  • Contact Information
  • A list of three research groups within ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences that you are most interested in joining. 
  • A copy of your academic transcript (official or unofficial)
  • A statement of research interests and career goals (this may include mention of the research groups you are interested in joining)
  • The email addresses of three recommenders (at least two letters should be requested from faculty at your undergraduate institution)

*Application for Summer 2022 has been closed.


  • Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident?
    Yes, the National Science Foundation requires all REU participants to be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident.
  • Is there an application fee?
    No, it is free to apply for this REU program.
  • Is there an application deadline?
    Yes, applications will be accepted until March 1, 2022.
  • When do students find out if they have been accepted into the REU program?
    Students will be informed of admission starting October 1, 2021 and will continue to be admitted until March 15, 2022.
  • Are Arizona State University students eligible?
    Students at ASU are welcome to apply; however, a majority of those accepted into this program will come from smaller institutions that have a lower level of research activity in the chemical sciences.
  • Can graduating seniors apply?
    Seniors are welcome to apply; however, preference will be given to students in the earlier stages of their academic training.
  • Is the starting date flexible?
    For the most part, no. The program will start on May 23, 2022 with a targeted move-in date of May 22, 2022.
  • Where will I live at ASU?
    Participants will be provided with free on-campus housing, in a dormitory that is within walking distance to the research laboratories.
  • Can I bring a car to ASU?
    It is possible to bring a car with you to campus. Before doing so, you would need to purchase a parking permit from ASU’s transit office. The cost for parking over the summer would be somewhere between $100-$250 depending on the lot that is chosen.
  • Do I have to live on campus if I live in the Phoenix Metro area?
    No. If you already have a comfortable living arrangement in the valley, you do not need to move to campus. However, you may need to obtain a parking or transit pass for your daily commute.
  • Who should I contact with additional questions?
    Please contact the administrators of this program, Prof. Ryan Trovitch ( and/or Prof. Laura Ackerman (, with any additional questions that you have about the Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis REU program at ASU.

2022 Summer Participants

Courteney Dufrene
Nicholls State University

Emanuel Flores
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Dani Hill 
Scottsdale Community College

Abbey Kerr
Park University

Mariah Paul
Dine College

Amelia Pratt
Glendale Community College

Raina Semenick
Allegheny College

Michael Trimble
St. Mary’s University