Alumni Undergraduate Research Fellows Program

It gives me great pleasure to announce the creation and initiation of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Alumni Undergraduate Research Fellows Program. This has been made possible by the generous financial support of Mr. David Plastino, who received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Delaware in 1978. Dave was one of Professor John Bulkowski’s first undergraduate research students, and it was this experience that provided his inspiration for underwriting this Program.

Dave is a man of many talents. He was a member of Delaware’s freshman basketball team and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He received his M.B.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1981, whereupon he joined the Goldman-Sachs investment firm, eventually rising to the position of Vice-President of Investments. He then moved to UBS (“You and Us-UBS!”), where he is now the Senior Vice-President of Investments.

The CHEM/BIOC Alumni Undergraduate Research Fellows Program differs from the existing Science and Engineering Scholars Program, in that BOTH rising juniors and seniors are eligible for fellowship support. It differs from both the Science and Engineering Scholars Program and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellows Program in that the minimum GPA required for eligibility has been lowered from 3.0 to 2.5. Both of these changes were made with the intent of expanding the range of eligible students, both chronologically and experientially. Details of the Program follow:

The disciplines of chemistry and biochemistry require students to demonstrate proficiency in the subject matter via both classroom and laboratory competency. Indeed, success in the laboratory setting is a harbinger of future professional success for the majority of our graduates. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is a major producer of American Chemical Society-certified bachelors degree graduates, consistently ranking among the top 25 programs nationally (currently 10/634). In part, these successes result from undergraduate research opportunities made available via a number of programs. Nonetheless, each year there are qualified students who are not afforded undergraduate research opportunities.
This program aims to support summer research experiences for chemistry or biochemistry majors entering either their junior or senior year at the University of Delaware. It is specifically intended for students who might not otherwise be afforded a research fellowship. Selected students will be provided a 10-week summer stipend and funds for laboratory supplies to pursue an independent research project.


  • Ten week, full-time summer research studies in the laboratory of a Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty member

  • Experience integrated with other summer research programs at Delaware to provide for additional training, e.g., safety, ethics, and networking opportunities

  • Research results presented at a campus-wide poster session at the end of the summer

  • Each spring, at a dinner, prior year recipients meet with new awardees and faculty mentors to discuss their experiences as CHEM/BIOC Alumni Undergraduate Research Fellows. This year, the dinner was held at the Blue and Gold Club on 5/9, with the Awardees’ (see list elsewhere in BHC#34) parents present.


  • Six students every summer, beginning in 2007, for at least the next five years ($3500 student stipend, plus $500 for S&E)

Obviously, this is a major step forward for our Department’s undergraduate research program, which was already one of the best and most extensive programs of its kind in the country. We owe Dave an extreme debt of appreciation for giving back such a tangible expression of gratitude and trust.