With a generous gift from the Arel family in 1997, the chemistry department created an endowed summer research fellowship in honor of Father Michael Custer, O.S.B. a long time faculty member in the chemistry department. This program promotes research during summers by Saint Anselm College students under the direction of faculty of the chemistry department. The award provides a student with a stipend and the opportunity to receive College housing, for a period of eight to ten weeks during the summer, by mutual agreement with your research mentor. The program is targeted at current sophomores and juniors who will carry out research projects within the chemistry department .

Father Michael was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1910. He entered the Benedictine community at Saint Anselm College in 1934. After receiving his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Saint Anselm in 1936 he went on to obtain his Master's degree in chemistry from the Catholic University of America.

Upon his return to the college he began teaching chemistry and as part of his research tested the milk from the abbey's dairy herd. In 1945 he was appointed Chairman of the chemistry department, at the time there was no chemistry major. By the time he stepped down as chairman, the chemistry major was established and accredited by the American Chemical Society. In 1982, the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers awarded the John A. Timm Award for the Furtherance of the Study of Chemistry to Father Michael.

After retiring from teaching he became an unofficial greeter in the admissions office, often trying to convince prospective students to become chemistry majors. Father Michael died on May 1, 2006.

Students who apply to the program must have selected a proposed research mentor and, together with their mentor, developed a research plan for the summer. The applicants will be screened and chosen based on merit and interest match by the faculty of the chemistry department. Once selected, students are expected to carry out their proposed research activities, under the direction of their faculty mentor. The culmination of this work is a written report and/or poster that summarizes the progress made during the summer.

Past Recipients

Year of Award


Anthony CastagnoLED Light Bulbs and Small Scale House Fires


Skyler HickeyDeveloping and Evaluating Surfactant Vessicles for Targeted Drug Delivery Applications: Protein Functionalization Studies
2019Megan LahamT he Synthesis of 1,3,5,7-tetraethynyladamantane
2018Nicholas AllenElemental Analysis of Etruscan Loom Weights using X-Ray Fluorescence
2016Kaliopi Konomi Elemental Characterization of Fresco Pigments, Cistern Walls, and Mortar Walls via X-ray Fluorescence
2015Jacqueline Kelly Analysis of Archeological Soils
2014Charles Dooley Microwave Assisted Syntheses for the Organic Chemistry Lab
2014Brianna Goddard

 Activation of Carbon Chlorine Bonds Using Palladium (II) Catalysts

2013Katharine 7Lunny Archeological Samples: From Collection to Analysis
2011Anthony Desmond Portable X-Ray Fluorescence used for In Situ Archaeological Studies and Laboratory Coin Analyses
2009Jacqueline CloudA Study of Factors that Influence the Infrared Spectra of Pllens
2008Brendan Sweeny 
2008Timothy Bergeron 
2006Tim Thibodeau Investigation of the Surface Chemistry of YBCO Superconductors
2005Caitlin R Jenkins 
2004Ashley Dumas 
2003Sean C McClintock 
2002Meghan Germain 
2001Sarah Lastella 
1999Angela M Genco 
1998Jonathan Mellen 
1998David Mowbray 
1997Julio C Silva 
1997Joel T Sweetser