Senior Trace Hall’s Thesis Grant Experience

Senior Trace Hall's Thesis Grant Experience

Eleni Gaspar , Staff Writer

As many juniors are fast approaching the senior thesis experience, senior students have completed, or are coming close to the end of their theses. What many parents and students may not know about the thesis project is the ability for students to apply for and receive a grant. One student, who successfully received a grant and finished the thesis project with an outstanding grade and experience, is senior Trace Hall.

Trace had an original idea to work with an antibiotic, cytosporoneE. He wanted to synthesize and test it to see how it affected gram-negative bacteria. In order to complete this thesis, Trace wanted to tag along with research that was currently being done at the College of Charleston on this topic.

Earlier in his junior year, Trace had gone on the grant tours that the school provides to any student interested. He then applied to the MUSC and College of Charleston grants by submitting his Review of Literature with his original idea. Members of the selection committee at Academic Magnet reviewed his application and gave Trace the College of Charleston grant.

With a grant, Trace’s topic changed, however still stayed in the category of chemistry. With the input of his mentor, his new topic involved how to design and synthesize a novel “Batwing” catalyst for use in the polymerization reaction syndiotactic polystyrene. In simpler words, the catalyst that they have designed will be used to produce types of Styrofoam and plastics more efficiently.

Over the summer, Trace spent four to five days a week from 9am-6pm collecting his data in the Organic Synthesis Lab at College of Charleston. Although it was a lot of work, Trace says it was a “ton of fun” and he was able to do many cool reactions, witness explosions and handle a variety of dangerous chemicals. There were about five people Trace worked with in the lab, including his mentor, and from the experience he was able to learn a lot about chemistry and organic chemistry.

The results of his work in the lab allowed him to successfully design a brand new catalyst that will be used in industrial chemical reactions in order to speed up the synthesis of syndiotactic polystyrene. This catalyst will also act as a model and be studied to create similar catalysts. Trace hopes to pursue a career as a doctor and major in chemistry, and his thesis allowed him to pursue his interests in chemistry.