Respected Sirs and Mesdames,
My name is Jordan Dinser, and I am writing to tell you about my experience with the Southeastern SEAL Program. I applied for the position of student researcher with the SEAL program during the fall semester of my sophomore year. Prior to this, I had been working as a clerk at a local pharmacy. I applied for the position with SEAL to find out whether I would enjoy doing scientific research and because I had been told that the position would be very flexible around my class and study schedule. Shortly after applying, I was informed that I had gotten the position.
Immediately I was put to work in an organic synthesis lab under the supervision of Dr. Debra Dolliver. In her lab I was able to work on synthesis projects for Gaylord Chemical company. As I grew more comfortable in the lab and became a more independent researcher, I was able to start on other projects for Millard Foods and U.S. Composite Pipe South which were more analytical in nature. While doing this research, I gained many valuable laboratory skills and was trained in using instrumentation such as HPLC, NMR, IR, and GC/MS. In addition, I developed a large amount of experience in technical writing as it was also one of my duties to report findings to our clients throughout the course of and upon completion of projects.
I was also given the opportunity to share the results of our projects with the larger scientific community by presenting my work at many local, regional, and national conferences. Although these presentations represent only a small fraction of the time that I spent working for SEAL, they were also some of the most influential and beneficial experiences I had with SEAL. The opportunity to travel to these conferences was certainly one that I would not have had were it not for my involvement in the SEAL program.
The combination of these experiences encouraged me to continue on the path toward a career in the sciences. I applied and was accepted to four outstanding Ph.D. programs in chemistry and have decided to attend the University of Texas at Austin in the Fall. I am certain that the level of training and experience that I gained through the SEAL program will continue to be essential to me as I continue in my pursuit to becoming an effective scientist.