Maywood, IL...A Proviso East High School graduating senior recently was awarded a scholarship of up to $5,000 for the chemical research she did last year.
Kristen Alanis won the award for her participation in the Project SEED research program at Loyola University during the summer of 2012. The award comes from the American Chemical Society, which sponsors Project SEED.
During the summer, Kristen worked on a project titled, "Revealing reaction mechanisms via atomically-resolves images of metal surfaces." With two other students from Niles West High School and Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, she worked on growing bacteria.
"The goal was to make protein crystals," said Kristen, who credited Proviso East science teacher, Glenn Lid with sparking her interest in chemistry. "Then we take it to a lab, and we would shoot it with electrograms. It would then make a 3-D diagram of it on the computer."
Her efforts paid off, as the American Chemical Society awarded her the scholarship.
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that Kristen is a hard-working student who has earned the scholarship that she has received.
"Kristen is an excellent student who has worked hard in challenging classes such as AP chemistry," he said. ""I am certain that she will continue to strive for excellence after high school."
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that Kristen is an excellent example of the caliber of students in the district.
"Kristen is a good example of the type of student we have in our district. She worked hard and achieved excellence because of that hard work," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "We need to continue to inspire and encourage our students to find their interests and then achieve greatness in those areas."
Kristen, who will study biochemistry at the University of Illinois in Champaign this fall, said that she appreciated being able to work on chemical research, an experience that she will repeat again this summer.
"It was just the satisfaction of learning it and being able to do it on my own," she said.