Chemistry, Math & Physics are Booming at Geneva

Geneva College′s Department of Chemistry, Math & Physics has been booming lately (in a good, safe way, not an accidental, chemical reaction way). Attesting to the program′s success are two recently awarded grants-one for chemistry and applied math major Bonnie Newman to attend a student research program, and another to the department from the Spectroscopic Society of Pittsburgh.

Newman was awarded a grant from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (SURF-NIST). This program brings together undergraduate students from around the country for a unique research experience in a national laboratory, where they interact with scientists and staff researchers, attend seminars and team meetings, and work in labs.

According to Newman, NIST is highly selective with an extensive application process. Department Chair Dr. John Stahl, who provided Newman a recommendation, said, "With her double major in chemistry and mathematics, plus her experience in a summer research program at West Virginia University last summer, she is very well qualified for this work."

Newman said that the program "integrates ideas from physics, engineering and chemistry, so the project will require some adaptability. It will certainly be an excellent learning opportunity for me to develop new skills in a laboratory."

Spectrofluorimeter InstrumentAnd speaking of laboratory skills, the $6,000 grant from the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh will be applied toward the purchase of a new spectrofluorimeter instrument. Stahl stated, "The Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh is highly committed to helping undergraduate institutions in the tri-state area," and he believes this year's grant will help the department continue to provide the excellent instruction for which it is known. "Chemistry has changed a great deal over the years, and we have continued to work at changing our curriculum, courses and laboratories in order to stay current."

The spectrofluorimeter will be used in upper-level laboratory courses and in research projects with nearly all of the chemistry faculty members. Stahl added, "Students majoring in biochemistry, chemistry and chemical engineering will all benefit from this chance to get hands-on experience with this technique."

And he is thrilled by the affirmation in the quality of Geneva′s education that these grants represent: "The chemistry program at Geneva has been approved by the American Chemical Society for 56 years, and we feel that we provide a very good education in the fundamentals of our science. As God′s stewards of the material creation, we need to understand all we can so that we can care for people, resources and the environment with wisdom. At Geneva, we are excited to prepare students for that task."

-Chris Strangfeld '13

June 2014


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