Eman Ghanem (University of Texas-Austin, USA)
Pioneered at The University of Texas-Austin, the Freshman Research Initiative combines the dual missions of the university: research and teaching. Students participating in FRI engage in an authentic research experience during their first year at the University, while earning introductory laboratory course credit. FRI students learn the required laboratory skills, along with advanced laboratory techniques, and start conducting research by the end of their freshman year. FRI has improved various indicators, including retention in the sciences and progression to STEM careers. We will demonstrate how both general chemistry laboratory skills and advanced techniques can be taught through a variety of research topics in three chemistry disciplines; organic, analytical and biochemical, by showing how each research discipline teaches four different skills: UV-Vis spectroscopy, solution and dilution preparation, synthesis, and purification. We will also discuss ways in which the program can be adapted to meet the needs of any university or college.