Smith Named Undergraduate Research Coordinator

Darrin Smith photo

Eastern Kentucky University recently selected Dr. Darrin Smith, associate professor of chemistry, as Undergraduate Research Coordinator.

The newly created Office of Undergraduate Research, housed within University Programs and physically located in the Crabbe Library, will coordinate and promote undergraduate research at EKU, managing such events as Posters-at-the-Capitol and the Undergraduate Presentation Showcase, as well as establishing an Undergraduate Research Journal.  

The Office will assist faculty in mentoring student research projects, encouraging collaborations, publicizing the ongoing undergraduate research activities of the academic departments, developing grant proposals, and representing EKU at regional and national undergraduate research conferences. Support from the University’s Provost, QEP, Honors, Noel Studio, Graduate School/Research, Arts and Sciences, and University Programs helped create the Office.

Smith, who joined the University’s Department of Chemistry in 2003, has a distinguished record of research in his field of analytical chemistry and has served as faculty mentor on numerous undergraduate research projects.

His most recent research focuses on the analysis of biomass samples for the development of biofuels with the EKU Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies (CRAFT).  He received a prestigious grant from the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh for this biomass research.

“The Office of Undergraduate Research will emphasize all the great scholarship and creative activities currently available on EKU campuses,” Smith said.  “Each year, numerous dedicated faculty members have potential projects for students to actively participate and learn in their respective field.  It will be exciting to make every EKU undergraduate student aware of these opportunities and increase the number of students to become engaged with faculty mentors.”

Smith holds a doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Arizona, where he also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Missouri Western State University.  

“Dr. Smith’s experience as a mentor and his commitment to helping students become actively engaged in learning through research make him an ideal choice to lead the newly created Office of Undergraduate Research,” said Dr. Sara Zeigler, Dean of University Programs at EKU. 

Smith will begin his role in August.

Published on June 17, 2011