April 18, 2019  

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Southern Miss Student Receives First American Chemical Society SEED Scholarship

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Southern Miss Associate Professor Dr. Doug Masterson, left, watches former Hattiesburg High student Caleb Faulkner work on a project during last summer's SEED program. (Photo by Tara Burcham)

Caleb Faulkner, an incoming freshman chemistry and biochemistry major at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the American Chemical Society (ACS) Project SEED program. This is the first SEED scholarship awarded to a Southern Miss student.

Faulkner participated in Project SEED last summer while a student at Hattiesburg High School. Project SEED helps high school students expand their education and career outlook. The program provides opportunities for students who historically lack exposure to scientific careers to spend a summer conducting hands-on research with a scientist in academic, industry, and government research laboratories.

To be eligible for the Project SEED scholarship, Faulkner must have worked at least one summer at a science institute under the Project SEED program and must be planning to major in a chemical science or engineering field.

Faulkner said he chose to do the SEED Program during high school because it seemed like a great opportunity to get into a lab and do research. “Not too many high students can say that they have done that,” he said.

Faulkner’s Project SEED scholarship is only awarded to first-year college students.  According to ACS, the scholarships are intended to assist former SEED participants in their transition from high school to college and consist of up to $5,000. Faulkner received the full $5,000.

Faulkner’s mentor is Southern Miss Associate Professor Dr. Doug Masterson, who is also Associate Chair in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. 

Faulkner considers Masterson to be an ideal mentor. “It seems like he knows everything there is to know about chemistry and if he doesn't, he can find someone or something that does,” said Faulkner. “I learned so much from him this past summer.”

Added Masterson, “I had set a goal of having a student win one of those awards and Caleb made that goal a reality. He now joins a unique set of students as few students nationwide receive this award.”

Project SEED students complete hands-on research and receive guidance on their career and personal development. Mentors and students build relationships that help to expand their awareness and understanding of the workforce. 

“I learned a lot working in Dr. Masterson’s lab including safety procedures, how to draw up chemical reactions, how to use an NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) machine and most importantly, how to be a professional when it comes to chemistry,” said Faulkner.

 “Caleb’s summer in my lab gave him the confidence to pursue studies in Chemistry.  This scholarship furthers his confidence in his abilities as a scientist,” said Masterson. 

Faulkner says the $5,000 SEED scholarship will help him by purchasing books and any other college expense, “I’ve heard that going to college is not cheap,” he said. The new Golden Eagle says he is excited to come to Southern Miss this fall because, “I'm ready to learn, meet new people and have tons of fun.”

For more information about the Southern Miss SEED program or the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, contact Masterson at 601.266.4714.