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 Black Hills State University students Kathryn McHenry, chemistry and chemistry education major from Cheyenne, Wyo., and Ashley Wingert, chemistry major from Custer, pictured with Dr. Paul Turman, system vice president for Research and Economic Development for the Board of Regents (BOR), left, and Dr. Jack Warner, executive director for the BOR.
 BHSU students Ashley Wingert, left, and Kathryn McHenry, explain their research to South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard during the Legislative Poster Session at the State Capitol.

Black Hills State University students Kathryn McHenry, chemistry and chemistry education major from Cheyenne, Wyo., and Ashley Wingert, chemistry major from Custer, were among the 13 college and university students exhibiting their research last week during the Legislative Poster Session at the State Capitol.

McHenry and Wingert’s research, under the direction of Dr. Dan Asunskis, assistant professor of chemistry, involves the study and development of materials for solar cells. The students are currently looking at Cadmium telluride, a semiconductor with great potential as an optical material.  The students synthesize and process the cadmium telluride at BHSU and solar cells made from these materials are measured for device efficiency.

A second focus of McHenry and Wingert’s project is the development of research experiments for incorporation into the undergraduate curriculum. The experiments transform the undergraduate lab into a modern research and development experience where the results aren’t predetermined and the students have more experimental freedom.

The Pierre Poster Session, in its 17th year, honors select South Dakota undergraduates for their interdisciplinary research and highlights both the state’s investment in research and research collaborations across the state. The session is co-sponsored by the Research Affairs Council of the South Dakota Board of Regents and the South Dakota EPSCoR Office.

This project is one of many underway that gives BHSU students the opportunity to participate in faculty-mentored research on issues that have national and international impact.