NFCC Graduate Natalie Sanchez Selected to Participate in Summer NSF-REU Program at FSU

Biology Instructor Bonnie Littlefield, NFCC Grad Natalie Sanchez and NFCC Chemistry Instructor Dr. Manoharan MariappanMADISON, FL – Graduating from North Florida Community College is just one of the exciting milestones for Natalie Sanchez this month. She is also participating in the 2018 National Science Foundation – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) program at the Florida State University Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. Sanchez is among 10 undergraduates from outside of FSU selected for the 10-week summer program that kicks off May 30.

“The NSF-REU internship is the most prestigious for science students,” said NFCC Chemistry Professor Dr. Manoharan Mariappan who is involved in the NSF-REU grant at the FSU Chemistry Department. “We are proud that Natalie has been selected.”

Specifically, Sanchez will be assisting with research focused around the interaction of light with matter including such diverse areas as photonics, information transmission and storage, spectroscopy, solar energy conversion, photodynamic therapy, photocatalysis, and photomagnetism. According to FSU’s REU site,, the ultimate goal is to prepare and equip future scientists for success - “Training new generations of scientists prepared to sustain these research efforts and to take them to new frontiers is crucial to the successful growth of our nation’s economy and energy security.”

During the program, Sanchez and REU students will work closely with faculty mentors, FSU graduate students and postdoctoral researchers for an “outstanding research experience.” Research projects are divided into four overall groups – Photoreactions and Their Mechanisms, Solar Energy Conversion, Plasmonic Nanoparticles, and Photoresponsive Materials. In addition to working on intensive research projects, participants will receive guidance on writing curriculum vitae and resumes, applying to graduate school, and potential career choices. Field trips to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Tyndall Air Force Base, Wakulla Springs State Park and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge are also scheduled during the summer REU program.

Sanchez was selected for the NSF-REU program in March. She received her Associate in Arts degree from NFCC on May 10 and is looking to transfer to the University of Florida to major in biochemistry and pharmacology. A native of Miami, Sanchez is a current resident of Jasper, Fla. She began her NFCC journey as a high school dual enrollment student and completed all of NFCC’s chemistry courses before graduating in May. During her time at NFCC, Sanchez worked as a biology and chemistry assistant for the NFCC Science Department and held membership in the NFCC Chemistry Club, Young Engineers Club, Save Our Animal Resources (SOAR) ecology club, and NFCC’s Mu-Xi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK).

Sanchez says she has always liked math and science. She is looking forward to the level of research and experiments that she will be helping conduct this summer at FSU.