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.

*Applications for Summer 2024 accepted until February 15, 2024.


Program Information

Participants will travel to Tempe, AZ and conduct research with a faculty member in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences from May 20, 2024 until July 26, 2024. Each student who enrolls in the program will receive:

  • $6,000 Stipend ($600 per week for 10 weeks, $3,000 paid in the third and final week of the program)
  • Summer Housing on the Tempe Campus (for applicants applying from outside of Maricopa County)  
  • 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:

  • Christina Birkel(Materials Chemistry) – Optimizing the Synthesis of MAX phases and MXenes
  • Giovanna Ghirlanda (Biochemistry) – Design of Functional Proteins
  • Pierre Herckes (Environmental Chemistry) – Evaluating the Occurrence and Fate of Environmental Contaminants
  • Matthias Heyden (Biochemistry) – Design of Functional Proteins
  • Anne Jones  (Bioinorganic Chemistry) – Enzymes as Electrocatalysts
  • Audrone Lapinaite  (Biochemistry) – RNA Base Editing
  • Timothy Long(Polymer Chemistry) – Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing
  • Jeremy Mills(Biochemistry) – Computational Protein Design
  • Alexandra Navrotsky(Materials Chemistry) – Materials of the Universe
  • Alberto Rascon(Biochemistry) – Biological Functions and Substrates of Mosquito Proteases
  • Liza Roger(Biochemistry) – Impacts of Environmental Change on Marine Organisms
  • Scott Sayres(Physical Chemistry) – Interaction of Matter with Ultrashort Laser Pulses
  • Don Seo(Solid-State Inorganic Chemistry) – Design and Synthesis of Metal Oxide Nanomaterials for Sustainability Applications
  • Ellen Stechel(Physical and Materials Chemistry) – Low Carbon Fuel, Chemicals, and Food
  • Ryan Trovitch(Organometallic Chemistry) – Design of Earth-Abundant Metal Catalysts
  • Wade Van Horn(Biochemistry) – Roles of Membrane Proteins in Human Health and Disease
  • Jeffery Yarger(Physical Chemistry) – Structural and Dynamical Characterization of Amorphous Materials

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.
  • Must be 18 years of age at time of application
  • 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)

*Applications for Summer 2024 accepted until February 15, 2024.



  • 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 age requirement?
    Yes, applicants must be at least 18 years of age so that they can perform laboratory-based research.
  • 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 February 15, 2024.
  • When do students find out if they have been accepted into the REU program?
    Students will be informed of admission starting December 1, 2023 and will continue to be admitted until March 29, 2024.
  • 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.
  • How are recommendation letter requests handled?
    When you apply, you will be asked to provide the contact information and email addresses of three letter writers. When you submit this information, a recommendation letter request will automatically be sent to each recommender.
  • Is the starting date flexible?
    No, the program will start on May 20, 2024 with a targeted move-in date of May 19, 2024 for those who will be living on campus.
  • 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?
    If you already live in Maricopa County, you are not expected to move to campus. The program will provide local participants with a parking or transit pass.
  • Who should I contact with additional questions?
    Please contact the administrator, Prof. Ryan Trovitch (, with any additional questions that you have about the Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis REU program at ASU.

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