Undergraduate Research

Chemistry students

Research at Carroll College

Many faculty in the Chemistry department conduct research continually (see pictures of summer research students below).  Opportunities to work on research in the areas of mechanistic investigations, materials synthesis, development and optimization of new synthetic methods, environmental monitoring, and remediation, as well as developing new methods of chemical education are all projects that welcome the participation of our STEM majors.  

Research projects include:

  • NASA research: solar panels made of Martian dirt
  • unsafe levels of copper in Moscow mule drinks
  • synthesis, testing, and optimization of materials for use in OLED's
  • investigation of fundamental chemical mechanisms behind the harvesting of renewable solar energy
  • quantifying acid mine drainage
  • sequestering metal pollutants from aqueous environments by selective ligand complexation
  • investigate naturally occurring carbohydrates and lipids for use in aqueous-based green chemistry


We have some very successful Carroll College Chemistry Alumni making a big difference in their field. Learn more.

Chemistry Alumni

What students are saying

For my 2016 summer research, I had the opportunity to participate in the DAAD Rise Program in Magdeburg Germany. This program allowed me to work closely with my mentor, a PhD Student, and other graduate level students in the field of Technical Chemistry. Over the course of the summer I was able to work with my mentor on her research in Zeolite Coating of Ceramic Foams, use new instruments for analysis, attend lectures by students presenting master thesis as well as participating at a DAAD conference in Heidelberg. As this research was in an academic setting, I also learned how to collaborate with other scientists and how to apply to a graduate program in Europe.

This past summer gave me the chance to further my knowledge in the field of research as well as giving me the chance to travel across Germany and make amazing friends along the way. I am very thankful to Carroll College for bringing this extraordinary opportunity to my attention and to the Chemistry faculty for preparing me with a well-established chemistry background and a willingness to learn. Isabelle Gray '18

During the summer I worked with Dr. Rowley on the Shark Project. It gave me a good idea of how self-driven lab research differs from lab classes during the school year. The research was eye-opening. I had to learn how to creatively solve problems that I encountered. It was a new experience discovering that there is no ‘right answer’ in research, but a whole range of correct solutions that vary in success. Working with Dr. Rowley during the summer made me realize how much freedom there is in research and how important it is for us to continue working towards educating ourselves on the plethora of information that still remains undiscovered. Victoria Kong '17

During the summer I was able to dive head first into the world of chemistry,” said Hanson. “Beyond learning the methods and instruments of research, I was able to see firsthand how research breathes life into the scientific process. Science does not merely live on a page in a textbook, but is instead a creative and interactive process. Erin Hanson '16

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs)

Besides the research opportunities available at Carroll, the National Science Foundation supports summer undergraduate researchers at other institutions across the country.  A stipend, typically $5,000-5,5000 and housing are frequently covered by the program.  Many programs pay for the student research to travel to a national conference and presnt their work.  A wide variety of research projects are available, at U.S. institutions both nearby (Montana State University) and far away.  A complete listing of host institutions and research foci are available at the NSF-REU website.

Additionally, various other organizations offer summer research internships, both in the country and abroad.  Visit the Career Services website at Carroll to get a listing summer undergraduate research opportunities. 

Often Carroll students use the research conducted over these summer programs to complete an honors thesis.  Carroll College has a strong record of placement in these often highly competitive programs.  If you would like to discuss the possibility of summer research through the NSF-REU program contact Dr. Pharr.

Research Opportunities at Carroll

If you are interested in conducting research with one of the chemistry professors at Carroll click on the links to your left to see what we are studying. You can also send us an email at cpharr@carroll.edu and we would be happy to set up a meeting to discuss our research and opportunities to join our research group. 


Carroll's Biology and Chemistry Programs offer students excellent internship opportunities with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Shodair Hospital Cytogenetics Laboratory, private environmental consultant firms, and the Montana Heritage Program. In addition to the academic credits earned during the internship, students have an opportunity to apply classroom principles to real problems around Montana.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs)

In the last ten years, Carroll chemistry majors have participated in REUs at the following locations (as well as many others):

  • Jet Propulsion Lab (Pasadena, CA)
  • Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)
  • Monsanto Corporation (Soda Springs, ID)
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
  • University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • USDA ARS Poisonsous Plant Research Laboratory (Logan, UT)
  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)
  • Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)
  • DAAD Rise Program (Magdeburg, Germany)