P2P: Paper 2 Plastics
The “Paper to Plastics” program, spearheaded by Professors Eranthie Weerapana and Jeffery Byers in the Department of Chemistry, is a program that unites chemistry and biology to engage young female and underrepresented minorities in scientific research. The scientific goal of the project is to recycle unwanted paper to the biodegradable polymer poly(lactic acid). This can be accomplished in five steps using a combination of biological and chemical techniques (see flowchart). During this eight week program, high school students will meet once a week and be exposed to a real research environment. Additionally, the high school students will work closely with undergraduates who will not only guide them through the technical aspects of the research but will also serve as role models to encourage considering careers in science and technology.