While our Chemistry students are given hands-on experience both in the classroom and through internships, the Department of Chemistry also offers opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members during student research.
SJC’s Department of Chemistry recognizes the importance of having experience in research. As a result, CHM 455: Research in Chemistry is part of our Chemistry majors’ curriculum. During CHM 455, students conduct research projects on some special problems in chemistry. Students make a thorough search of the literature and carry out the experiments needed to reach a conclusion.
Dr. Rob Pfaff offers student research opportunities in Thermodynamics and Molecular Modeling. Thermodynamics is the study of energy changes in chemical reactions. In the past, students have studied the energy availability of coal and the caloric content of foods. Molecular modeling involves using sophisticated computer software to calculate the energies of chemicals and reactions as a way to deduce mostly likely structures and reaction pathways.
Dr. Anne Gull often sponsors student research. Most recently, her students have studied kinetics of gas formation reactions. Other students have studied organic and inorganic synthesis. Dr. Gull is interested in Inorganic Chemistry, Chemical Education research, and History of Chemistry. She enjoys working with students and seeing them truly understand what the research experience is like.
Dr. Cheryl Wistrom often sponsors student research or independent studies in Biochemistry. Most recently, several of her students extracted potential anti-tumor chemicals from the bark of the Paw-Paw tree. They then assayed the potency of these chemicals against plant tumors. Another of her students studied tablet dissolution rates to better predict the rate at which tablets release medicines.
15% higher graduation rates are seen in students who do research or internships compared to students who do not.
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