Chemistry Department Earns Grant
Jan 13, 2009
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
MARK JENSEN, Associate Professor of Chemistry
AMY KELLY, Media Relations director
CONCORDIA CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT EARNS
GRANT FOR NEW EQUIPMENT
Concordia College’s chemistry department received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will be used to buy additional scientific instruments, giving chemistry students more real-world experiences in the laboratory.
“We want our students to think and act like scientists,” says Mark Jensen, associate professor of chemistry. “Now we’ll be better equipped to give them experiences that allow them to do just that.”
The new instruments will include an inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES), which simultaneously detects and determines concentrations of several elements, and an ion chromatograph (IC), which is often used to determine metal and salt concentrations in water. Additionally, a new automated high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system will allow students from several classes to efficiently separate and quantify the components in liquids.
Access to the instruments will give students more opportunities to complete relevant research in a traditional laboratory class rather than performing textbook laboratory exercises. Jensen and Graeme Wyllie, Concordia’s chemistry laboratory coordinator, expect the hands-on work will make students more excited about scientific research.
“It will give them the freedom to be creative and let them practice skills they’d use as professionals,” Jensen says.
Next year, students taking analytical chemistry will learn how to use six different instruments – including the three new additions – before analyzing a real-world sample of their choice. For example, a student may choose to determine how much fluoride is in toothpaste. The student will collect the sample, prepare it, test it, analyze it and share results with classmates.
Second-semester general chemistry students will use the new instruments to carry out mini-research projects on the fate of pharmaceuticals in natural water.
The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that promotes the progress of science. It funds approximately 20 percent of all federally supported research conducted by U.S. colleges and universities.
Concordia College is a four-year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America offering 78 majors, including 18 honors majors, and 12 preprofessional programs.