Banks receives research assistantship for MIT doctoral program

Dan Banks, a senior Penn State Chemistry major who began his studies at Berks, has received a research assistantship for Massachusetts Institute of Technology?s Ph.D. program in chemistry.

While a student at Penn State Berks, Banks began conducting research with Dr. Leonard Gamberg, Associate Professor of Physics, in his freshman year, and continued after transferring to University Park campus. He wrote his honors thesis with Gamberg, titled "Studying the Partonic Structure of the Nucleon by Means of the Beam Spin Asymmetry."

Banks credits Gamberg with being instrumental in helping him obtain a Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility during the summer before his junior year. During this internship, Banks had an opportunity to continue his work with Gamberg from the experimental side, which involved the development of spin polarized He-3 target cells that will be used in studying the internal spin structure of the neutron in particle accelerator experiments. Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) is one of 17 national laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and these internships are highly competitive.

In addition, Banks was also awarded travel grants in 2012 and 2013 to present the research he conducted with Gamberg at the American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics Conference.

Banks has received several scholarships, including the Elizabeth and J. Paul Smith Scholarship and the George G. Pond Memorial Scholarship. While at Penn State Berks, he received the Outstanding Achievement Awards in Physics and Organic Chemistry. He also received a Berks faculty fund research grant in 2012 and 2013.

When asked how his experiences at Penn State Berks helped prepare him for his future, Banks stated, ?I was able to get involved with research and work with Dr. Gamberg as a first-year student. The small class size and personal attention that I received at Berks really made a difference.?

Banks plans to pursue a career either in academia or working at a national research laboratory conducting physical chemistry research.