The Steppingstone MAgnetic Resonance Training (SMART) Center is a fusion of project-based learning and scientific instrumentation.

The SMART Center, conceived by Dr. Philip D. “Reef” Morse II (Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Illinois State University), provides training and access to three electron spin resonance spectrometers for middle school through college undergraduate students.

Students participate in 24 hours of training during which time they learn about resonance, spectroscopy, instrument usage, obtaining and analyzing data, and the basics of experimental design.

Most importantly, students learn to ask questions in such a way that they can obtain answers.

Once they have completed the training course, they have self-directed access to the laboratory and instrumentation where they can pursue their research ideas and, ultimately, present their research not only to other students but also to the scientific community.

The SMART Center motto, “exciting the next generation of scientists”, is not only a play on words that describes resonance processes, it is the ultimate purpose for its existence.

  • Testimonial: ““As I have worked in many research labs over the years, I have realized how rare it is for students to get such freedom to explore when they are young. Dr. Morse encouraged us to design our own project aims, hypotheses, and experiments. Being responsible for a full project drove home lessons about the scientific method that I have used since then, and getting to create and test my own hypotheses sparked a passion for research and scientific discovery that I have followed eagerly.” – H.C. (MD/PhD Student)