Student Profile

Karam Idrees

Karam Idrees

Major: Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics

Class Year: 2018
Hometown: Lancaster, PA

Additional Information


Since the summer of 2015, I have had the opportunity to work as a research student under the mentorship of Dr. Edward Rajaseelan. My project was to synthesize novel compounds and catalysts with applications in the pharmaceutical field. In doing so, I successfully synthesized robust and novel catalysts that showed promising potential for the desired transformations. The project yielded two peer-reviewed publications. In addition, the project will also be used as the basis for my undergraduate thesis for department honors.

During the summer of 2016, I attended a research experience for undergraduates (REU) at North Carolina State University. While I was there, I worked as a research student under the mentorship of Dr. Elon Ison. My project integrated computational and experimental methods to study certain chemical reactions and systems. In doing so, I synthesized Rhenium complexes that were screened in catalytic reactions and simulated computationally using Density Functional Theory. The results of the project were presented during the Undergraduate Research Symposium at North Carolina State University and the American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco.

During the summer of 2017, I was fortunate to be accepted into another REU program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. During my summer experience, I worked under the mentorship of Dr. Ampofo Darko on synthesizing and studying dirhodium paddlewheel complexes. These compounds have a wide range of useful applications such as the synthesis of antibiotic precursors. My final results were presented for the chemistry department at the University of Tennessee. 

Currently, I continue to work at the research lab of Dr. Edward Rajaseelan with the hope of furthering my research project and expanding my knowledge at Millersville University.


My inspiration for chemistry stems from my desire to study and understand the world at the molecular and atomic level. I have always enjoyed chemistry during high school and college which inspired me to participate in undergraduate research at Millersville University. This experience instilled in me the desire to pursue chemistry and provided me with the tools and knowledge to attend other research projects. My research mentor was also a big part of my inspiration for chemistry. He guided me throughout my academic career and supported my desire to pursue chemistry.


The highlight of my academic career is being fortunate enough to be a part of multiple research projects that helped to reinforce my desire to pursue chemistry. After every research project, I was given the opportunity to present my work and network with other scientists in the field.


During my summer REU projects, I had the chance to see how research is conducted at the graduate level, network with other chemists in the field, and learn new things that I wouldn't have encountered in an undergraduate setting. In addition, my summer projects taught me how to become more patient and persistent when it comes to research, and it allowed me to travel to new places.


My advice for incoming freshmen is that you should get involved in your activities of interest as soon as possible and take advantage of all the resources at your disposal. If you are interested in research and graduate schools, then start strong and early. In an undergraduate school, we have the advantage of meeting with professors in one-on-one settings. So, don;t be afraid to meet with your professors and advisors. These people are there to help and guide you throughout and even after your academic career. To increase your chances of getting into graduate school, it is a good idea to consider summer REU programs. These programs are sponsored by the national science foundation. Therefore, everything is paid for and you will also receive a stipend. These programs offer tremendous help and insight into what your graduate career will look like. Ultimately, you get out what you put in.


After completing my undergraduate degree at Millersville University, I hope to continue my academic career at the graduate level by pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry. Having experienced graduate school though my summer programs, I feel that I am prepared to embark on this arduous journey. During my future research projects, I hope to work on interdisciplinary chemistry that uses knowledge from all subfields to accomplish my goals.