UW student from Casper to present research to members of U.S. Congress

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CASPER, Wyo. — Casper native Rachel Tenney, a University of Wyoming chemistry major, will present a research project to member of the United States Congress during an April 29-30 “Posters on the Hill” event, according to a UW College of Arts and Sciences news release.

Tenney’s project is titled “New Approaches to Hydrocarbon Feedstock Conversion: Bifunctional Pd Complexed for Tunable Heterolytic C-H Activation.”

“C-H activation, the process of breaking the bond between carbon and hydrogen in an organic compound, is an important reaction in the conversion of petroleum feedstocks,” the release states.

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UW Science Initiative’s Wyoming Research Scholars Program funds Tenney’s research, according to the release. She receives a research stipend and $2,500 to support travel and research.

“’A great deal of potential value from hydrocarbons in petroleum feedstocks (e.g., methane) is ultimately wasted due to a lack of economically competitive strategies for converting these feedstocks into more useful products,’” the release quotes Tenney.

“’Our laboratory is studying different fundamental ways for tuning and controlling hydrocarbon functionalization, the process of converting smaller hydrocarbons into larger (and more valuable) ones.’”

The “Posters on the Hill” event takes place each spring at the Capitol, the release adds. 60 poster projects were accepted of 360 that were submitted.

Member of Congress and their staff will have the opportunity to talk with the students about their research during the event.

“'[W]e will be meeting with congressional representatives and staff from many states including Wyoming, and we have separate meetings scheduled with Rep. (Liz) Cheney and Sen. (John) Barrasso,’” Tenney says in the release.

“’We would like to convey the importance of both undergraduate research and graduate research, as they are both linked together and demonstrate a symbiotic relationship.’”

Tenney thinks that UW Assistant Chemistry Professor Elliott Hulley and graduate student William Christman have been helpful for her project, the release adds.

“’While I have quite a bit of autonomy on the project, both Elliott and Willie have made themselves available to answer questions, look over data and provide insight into the process and future steps in continuing this research,’” the release quotes Tenney.

Tenney is in her junior year at UW.