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NASA experience expands chemistry junior’s confidence

September 19, 2017

Many internships provide the opportunity to gain real world experience from professionals in a particular field or industry.  It was much more for one University of Detroit Mercy student, Nicholas Boynton, a junior in chemistry.

He spent 10 weeks this summer as an intern at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio developing polymer aerogels for potential space exploration.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” said Boynton.  “I feel more confident as a chemist than I did before I left.”

Boynton and his research mentor, Dr. Mary Ann Meador, senior research scientist at NASA and polymer engineering professor at the University of Akron, made significant progress with their project that they are preparing an article for publication.

Boynton’s classroom and laboratory experience at Detroit Mercy provided a solid foundation to apply knowledge into solving problems.  It also identified areas for him to his further education.

“It showed me a lot of gaps in what I need to learn,” he said.  “I got exposed to a lot of information on a variety of topics from experts in the field.”

The experience at NASA has renewed his intent to pursue a graduate education.  In fact, he is considering an additional degree in mechanical engineering before going on to a Ph.D. in materials science.

“It was an awesome experience,” explained Boynton.  “I loved the work and exploring the aerospace industry at the Glenn Research Center.”

Boynton will be returning to Cleveland next summer for a second internship.

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