Maria is a senior chemistry student at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio. She is working under Evan Lydon in the Guan Research Lab studying organic synthesis and novel catalyst design.
Here is what she wrote about her project:
This summer my project is working towards the synthesis of cyclopentadienone manganese carbonyl complexes as bifunctional catalysts while studying the properties of manganese (I) and its ability to form effective catalysts. Using air-sensitive lab equipment such as a glove box and Schlenk line, attempts of coordinating the manganese carbonyl complexes to a tetracyclone ligand have been done using several different solvents as well as a sodium amalgam in order to reduce the manganese molecule, causing a nucleophilic attack on the tetracyclone. The confirmation of a manganese catalyst would have environmental and economic benefits since manganese is a much more abundant and cheaper metal compared to precious metals typically used in catalysis.
You can also listen to Maria how she became interested in chemistry.