Open Positions

The Brasch Group is always looking for qualified, self-motivated people to join us, be it as undergraduate researchers, PhD students, or postdocs. The availability of funding of course varies over time. If you are interested, please contact Dr Brasch as early as possible so that she can can explore different options with you.

Even if no funded positions are open at the time, there are various funding opportunities available, including for international students, that you could explore on your own or with Dr Brasch’s assistance. Please see the Scholarships Page for details.

Extra Information for AUT Undergraduate Students

Do you want to put some of the material you learn in lectures and chemistry labs into practice? Consider joining our lab for a research experience! Carrying out a research project in a laboratory is not only of benefit to students contemplating going to graduate school, but can also boost your resume when it becomes time to apply for a job, or you are seeking admission to a graduate degree program. Students often find their classes become easier, and make more sense, after they become involved in undergraduate research. In addition, students learn valuable skills such as scientific writing and presentation skills. We have a weekly group meeting where research results and literature are presented and discussed in an informal, supportive environment. Students may even obtain a research publication and/or present their results at a conference. To ensure that your research experience is productive, not intimidating, undergraduate students in our lab will initially be co-supervised by a graduate student. Check out the comments of undergraduate students Noah and Brenda concerning their undergraduate research experience in our laboratory. You find them a little further down on this page.

Students can also carry out research in our lab and obtain credit towards their degree through the School of Science’s Research Project paper (777003), 30 credits. Students must have at least a B grade average. Please contact Dr. Brasch ( or +64 (0)9 921 9373) for further details on this paper, and to check whether a position is available in her lab.

What’s it like to work as an undergraduate student in the Brasch Group?

Some Past Group Members, Noah Plymale and Brenda Dougan, were kind enough to provide statements about their undergraduate research experience in the Brasch Group.

Noah Plymale

Noah Plymale

I was an undergraduate member of the Brasch Group from January 2009 to May 2011. I spent most of my first semester learning new techniques of modern air-free inorganic chemistry and spectroscopy, and was able to continue to refine these skills while approaching a unique research project the following summer as part of an NSF-REU project. I continued work on this project for my Junior year and it became my Senior Honors Thesis. I was lucky enough that my project was funded for my entire Junior year through the Brasch Group’s NSF grant, and I presented the research at the Ohio Inorganic Weekend conference at Case Western University in November 2009. I am currently studying for my PhD in Chemistry at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. It is absolutely certain to say that I wouldn’t be where I am without the unparalleled support Dr. Brasch provided as my advisor.

The value of my experience in the Brasch lab became increasingly apparent as I began to learn to think and write scientifically. Weekly group meetings helped me explore research that others were doing in our lab in addition to around the world. Having the chance to do an undergraduate research project really helps when applying to graduate schools, which understand the value such an experience provides to students. Research experience is also very valuable in other career tracks, since it helps you to learn how to ask questions to better understand important and complex concepts. Also, learning how to overcome new and challenging obstacles is an important part of what I learned in the Brasch Group. Additionally, working with other undergraduate and graduate students was really great and everyone was very willing to help each other. When problems were too difficult to solve together, Dr. Brasch was always helpful and provided valuable insight to help move past obstacles and achieve success. Working in the Brasch Group was often challenging, but also fun, exciting, and very worthwhile.

Brenda Dougan

Brenda Dougan

I started working with Dr. Nicola Brasch at Kent State University in Ohio as part of a Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program founded by the National Science Foundation (NSF REU). During this time I helped develop the synthesis and characterization of vanadium(III)/acetate complexes in aqueous solution. After the end of this program I was keen to extend my research experience, and Dr Brasch found a way to fund my work as an undergraduate researcher for a whole year through the American Chemical Association’s Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF). I developed the synthesis and characterization of many vanadium(III)/carboxylate complexes in aqueous solution and presented the results of my work at a meeting of the American Chemical Association (ACS) in San Diego, CA.

I am currently studying towards my PhD in inorganic chemistry at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. The research project in the Brasch Group has given me a solid foundation in synthetic inorganic chemistry that has proven to be invaluable in my graduate school career. The decision to pursue a doctorate degree in inorganic chemistry was strongly influenced by my experience in the Brasch Group, and my realization of how diverse inorganic chemistry really is.

I enjoyed the great atmosphere and pleasant work environment in the Brasch Group. Dr Brasch’s charisma, enthusiasm, and passion in hindsight make it appear like everyday in the lab was an excellent day, although I am sure there must have been some where things didn’t work out quite as well as expected! I was privileged to have such a fantastic undergraduate research experience, and would strongly encourage you to consider working in the Brasch Group if you are aiming for a career in chemistry.