by Amy Bearinger, Published March 22, 2012
The Undergraduate Symposium provides students, faculty and the university community with a one-day showcase of outstanding undergraduate work. Reflecting on each and every presentation is difficult, but the student emcee does his or her best to highlight the event and capture the remarkable day as a whole.
Four-time Symposium presenter Ian Pendleton is the student emcee this year. His history with the event, along with his role as a Symposium Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF), will provide him with a wealth of experiences to reflect on.
In his fourth year and final year as a presenter, Pendleton will present research that focuses on identification of a unique reaction that allows for multiple molecular bonds to be formed in a single test tube. Working with his faculty sponsor, Dr. Harriet Lindsey, Pendleton has determined that this reaction makes the process of putting together small molecular rings (common structural motifs that often appear in pharmaceutical drugs) both environmentally friendly and easier than alternative methods of achieving the same goal.
According to Pendleton, the designing of these tools could help make drugs that could one day save a life, and this has been a motivating factor for him.
"Throughout my project I have worked to make this reaction more efficient and easy to use," Pendleton said. "I am really excited for my poster presentation as it is the culmination of all my past work. Once the poster session is complete, I'll feel I've really come full circle."
Aside from his participation with the Undergraduate Symposium, Pendleton has also presented and participated in a number of national conferences and seminars. Reflecting on all of these accomplishments, however, he notes the Undergraduate Symposium and participation in the SURF program as having the biggest impact on his academic career.
"With the exception of meeting my mentor, the Undergraduate Symposium has had the single largest impact on my life of any other event," Pendleton explained. "It has provided me with the skill to succeed and I am appreciative of all of the support provided throughout my experience."
Pendleton will present his research titled, "Toward a catalytic, asymmetric aza-Cope rearrangement-Mannich cyclization," in room 310 of the student center during group 1 of the poster presentations (8:30-10:15 a.m.). He will fulfill his role as student emcee during the Symposium Luncheon.
When the event comes to a close, he will move forward being forever changed by his experiences.
"To put the impact of the Undergraduate Symposium and the SURF program into a few words is difficult," he stated, "But I will say, whatever I become, it will be in part due to my involvement with these exceptional experiences."