Research & Internships

The physical sciences are hands on disciplines, and nothing prepares you for the next step, whether it be a job after graduation or graduate or professional school, like real world experience. The Department of Chemistry & Physics provides a number of ways of getting these real world experiences, including internships, faculty-mentored undergraduate research, and off-site research experiences.


Internships give students hands-on experience working in a corporate or government research environment. These experiences can be paid, for credit, or both. A student interested in an internship should talk to the Career Center as well in advance of when she or he wants to do the internship. The student should also consult with members of the department well in advance, especially if the internship will be for credit.

A wide variety of internship opportunities are possible. Frederick and the surrounding area are the home of numerous companies that have employed our students as interns. Frederick is also the home of Fort Detrick, which houses research sites for United States Department of AgricultureNational Cancer InstituteUnited States Army Medical Institute for Infectious Diseases, and other federal agencies, all within biking distance of campus. Also in the area are research centers for the National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNational Institute for Standards and TechnologyNational Institutes of HealthSmithsonian Institution, and nearly every other federal agency. All of these agencies have provided internship opportunities for our students.

Faculty-Mentored Research

Research experiences are especially important for students interested in going on to graduate studies in the sciences. Faculty-mentored research experiences are generally offered during the summer through Hood’s Summer Research Institute program. These experiences may also be extended to continue into the school year as an independent study or as an Honors Thesis project.

Available projects vary, but the general research interests of our faculty include:

  • Dr. Bennett’s research work involves the study of electrospray ionization fundamentals related to analysis of complex mixtures with liquid chromatography — mass spectrometry.

  • Dr. Ensel’s research involves the synthesis of botulinum neurotoxin inhibitors, the isolation/identification of natural products and the development of green chemistry laboratory experiments.

  • Dr. Lawrence’s lab conducts research on zinc-binding proteins that are important in virus-host cell interactions.

  • Dr. Stromberg’s research involves ultrafast time-resolved spectroscopy of molecules that are potential catalysts for the production of hydrogen. For more details, see here.

If you are interested in one of these research projects, contact the faculty member. Students are generally selected in January for the upcoming summer, so express your interest early!

Off-Site Research Experiences

The Department of Chemistry and Physics has been very successful in placing students into summer undergraduate research experiences off-campus. The two main sources for such experiences are the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program.

These programs have deadlines as early as December, and the applications often require coordination with the Career Center.

Presentations and Publications

One major benefit to taking part in an undergraduate research experience, whether on campus or off, is the ability to gain experience presenting your work to others. Our students routinely present their work at both regional and national conference, including the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium and National Meetings of the American Chemical Society. Our students have also had their work published in well-respected, peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Physical Chemistry and the Journal of Chemical Education.