A Love for Science

Some students spend their summer at the pool, or working, maybe even vacationing. Rising senior, Issy Earp ‘22 has been spending hers conducting research at the Kansas Polymer Research Center in Pittsburg, KS. Three days a week, nine hours a day, she works in the lab. The rest of the week she spends at home analyzing the data from her experiments. We recently reached out to her to share with us the details of her research. It is apparent that Issy loves science.

“I am working on two projects that go hand in hand at the moment: fabricating a Supercapacitor and making a water-splitting catalyst. In short, a Supercapacitor is a battery that can store and release energy quicker than a regular battery and can be used to charge various devices and machines faster. I am working on synthesizing a compound called Nickel Cobalt Oxide which is highly conductive and can be used to create a Supercapacitor with higher electrochemical response leading to a faster charge time. Nickel Cobalt Oxide can also be used in water splitting. It takes an extremely long time to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Platinum is the catalyst that is used now in water splitting. Platinum, however, is very expensive and hard to find. Scientists are trying to find a catalyst that can do the same thing but is less expensive and is more readily available. Essentially we are testing to see if Nickel Cobalt Oxide can replace Platinum because it is less expensive and is more readily available.

Something that is cool is that my professor allows me to use the machinery for my own research. The research center just received a machine that I am really excited to use. I live right next to a dump and have always been concerned about the levels of toxic gases that I am breathing in. This machine can test the levels of toxins in the air through soil samples. Next week I am going to bring down some soil samples from various distances away from the dump and start my own research project that I will continue for the next few months. I am thrilled that I can come down during the school year and use the machinery; they also offered to pay me for this individual research which is awesome!

Another thing that is cool is that I am currently working on writing two research papers that will both be on their way to getting published in about a month. In October, I will attend a conference with the Midwest American Chemical Society in Springfield where I will be able to share my research with the scientific community. Overall, this has been such a great opportunity and even though it is two hours away, it is so worth it!”
Your Saints community is proud of you Issy! Keep up the good work!
*Our Academic Counselors work hard to ensure our students have opportunities to explore career paths & discover their passions. Visit our Summer Programs - College Counseling page for more information on available programs.