In the world of scientific research, publication in a respected scientific journal is the brass ring. It’s the place where seasoned researchers share their work and expose it to the scrutiny of some of the best minds in their fields.

So it’s a pretty big deal when a student’s research – especially the work of an undergraduate student – is accepted for publication. For undergraduate students working in Ram Gupta’s labs at PSU, this is precisely the goal.

Gupta, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, came to PSU as part of its Polymer Chemistry Initiative. In labs at the Kansas Polymer Research Center, Gupta mentors students in the university’s undergraduate and graduate polymer chemistry degree programs.

Five of Gupta’s undergraduate students this past year had research papers published by peer-reviewed journals. Their research is complex and deals with the rapidly expanding fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology, electrically conductive polymers, energy storage and supercapacitors.

Pawan Kahol, dean of research and graduate and continuing studies at PSU, said having undergraduate students do research and publish their work, especially in such complex fields, may seem ambitious, but it’s critical to a solid undergraduate experience.

“An undergraduate’s experience is incomplete if they haven’t done primary research,” Kahol said. “We’re very lucky to have Dr. Gupta here. He works so well with the students. His focus is to make students think.”

Gupta said he enjoys working with the undergraduate students.

“I enjoy teaching and nurturing them,” Gupta said. “I try to design each project so that it works well with the time the students have.”