Dr. Sapna Sarupria

Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Area of Research:
Computational molecular science

208 Earle Hall
Dr. Sapna Sarupria

Proposed role for the Scholar as an undergraduate researcher in the Mentor's lab.
The Sarupria group focuses on computational materials/molecular science research. Students receive training in molecular simulations, relating molecular properties to macroscopic phenomena, performing calculations on high-performance supercomputers, and basic programming. My mentoring plan will enable the Beckman Scholar to perform successful research, communicate their thoughts and results effectively and with confidence, and explore new directions in research. It also emphasizes collaborations and interactions with peers to broaden their experiences. The Scholar will perform research, present research (oral and written), write proposals/reports, and attend seminars. The Scholar will have various informal opportunities to interact with people-other researchers, industry employees, other graduate and undergraduate researchers at Clemson and beyond. Collectively, we will provide the Beckman Scholar an environment that enables them to pursue their research and development with happiness and confidence. Based on the on-going research projects and the Scholar's research and career interests, we will collaboratively identify a project for the Scholar. We will specify the key questions, specific strategies and milestones of the project. The Beckman Scholar will be the primary lead on this project under my supervision.

Frequency and nature of the planned interactions between the Scholar and Mentor.
The Scholar will submit a detailed weekly report outlining their progress-what worked, what did not work, why something did not work and what they think can be the solution; if they have results, they will discuss what they can infer from them, summarizing any papers they may have read, and what their goals for the following week are. The Scholar will have 1-on-1 meetings with me to discuss their research progress and weekly reports in detail. We will converge on the next steps for the project and ensure that the weekly goals are mutually agreeable. In addition, the Beckman Scholar will have open access to me for help and guidance.

Specific plans the Mentor will employ.
I believe in treating undergraduates as capable and independent researchers and therefore strongly encourage them to take responsibility for their project rather than thinking of themselves as mere technicians. Indeed, several of my undergraduates have taken ownership and suggested research directions each week-an important characteristic for a successful researcher. Through the weekly reports, the Scholar will receive training in effective written communication and also to think critically about their design of experiments. Through the 1-on-1 meetings and group meeting presentations, the Scholar will learn to communicate orally. In addition, the Scholar will present posters and give oral talks at the summer REU poster presentations at Clemson. Collectively, the Scholar will learn to think about their project, design the milestones to achieve a given goal, critically evaluate the results obtained, and communicate the outcomes of their research. These are basic tools necessary to succeed as a graduate student. In addition, we emphasize work/life balance and therefore will discuss strategies to effectively manage time and productivity. Several of my undergraduate researchers (approx. 50%) are now in graduate school (MIT, RPI, Clemson). The training plan as described focuses on research and assimilation into the peer research community and provides the Beckman Scholar with tools to thrive in graduate school. I will work closely with the Scholar to explore their graduate school options and provide avenues for them to get multiple perspectives on future decisions. In addition, we will collectively explore possible funding avenues and collaborations to further their research interests.

Active undergraduate researchers in Mentor's lab. 0

Total number of UGRS mentored to date: 27

In Sarupria group we study materials at the molecular level through molecular simulations. Molecular simulations are powerful tools that allow us to zoom into materials such that we can watch the movement of each atom and thus, really tease out the molecular behavior underlying any process. Sarupria group uses these tools to study a wide range of processes such as how ice forms in the clouds, how can we make better membranes for water purification and how can we understand the toxicity of graphene to the body. We perform our simulations on Clemson’s supercomputer, Palmetto, which is which is the #2 ranked supercomputer among academic institutions in the nation! Sarupria group works as a team and strives to create a supportive environment for success of all.