GWU Student Shares Research Findings at Regional Chemistry Conference

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Will Payne Offers Oral Presentation During American Chemical Society Event

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb University senior William “Will” Payne never expected that a summer internship research project would result in an opportunity to present his findings to industry professionals, scientists, professors and students at the Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS).  Yet, Payne’s research was among only 50 submissions chosen for oral presentation during the conference, which was held recently in Atlanta, Ga.

“The research I presented was conducted in a summer internship in conjunction with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation,” Payne explained.  “I gained real lab experience through the program, in a graduate school research setting.”

Set to graduate in May with a double major in Chemistry and Computer Science, the Indianapolis, Ind. native arrived at Gardner-Webb having earned an athletic scholarship and then spent three years on the University’s swim team.  He decided to focus on his studies and professional development during his senior year.  Last summer, he began working to design a nanoparticle that can remove organic pollutants common in public water sources and runoff.

“The title of my presentation was ‘Polymer Functionalization of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotube for Nano-Resin Water Purification,’” Payne said.  “At low concentrations, certain water pollutants are very difficult to remove.  The particle I made was able to remove certain organic molecules from water successfully.”

Undergraduate students were eligible to present their findings at the conference as long as they had conducted research and written a paper, and selection was based on originality of research and results.  “Most students who present come from larger universities with deeper research budgets,” Payne offered.  “There were many well-qualified, undergraduate students, professors and professionals of all types at the event, and I really enjoyed the experience.  It was a great step forward in my professional development and preparation for grad school.”

With his eye on a career in biomedical research, Payne is now looking into his options for continuing his education.  “I’m in the process of applying to graduate school right now, and plan to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering,” he said.  “Presenting at this conference was my first time to share my findings in such a setting.  I plan on continuing research throughout my career, and presenting will be a large part of that, so this was a great starting point to continue to develop my skills and experiences.”

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).