Kira Rasmussen '17 and Jacqueline Sullivan '17 are waiting for the chemical mixture they’ve just heated to 105 degrees to cool. Their test tubes are snug in ice baths to speed the process. Rasmussen, an animal science/pre-vet major, and Sullivan, a zoology and Spanish double major, are two of about two dozen undergraduates measuring and mixing and purifying their way through an organic chemistry lab in Parsons Hall on a recent afternoon.
“They’re creating a chemiluminescent reaction,” says Peter Frank, a chemistry Ph.D. candidate and one of two teaching assistants in this lab. “Basically they’re using chemistry to create light, similar to what fireflies do" when they light up during bioluminescence.
The experiment is designed to teach the class of mostly sophomores about nucleophilic substitution reactions and the relationship between fluorescein structure and the color of light produced.
Graduate Student Support
We, the junior faculty of the Department of Chemistry, have launched a fundraising effort specifically aimed at supporting the Chemistry graduate students. We see great promise in our graduate students and, in order to improve recruitment and retention, their merits must be better supported. As such, we have each donated to one of two existing endowed funds aimed at increasing merit-based funding opportunities for graduate student summer research.
These funds include: the Clarence L. and Helen M. Garland Grant Fellowship fund and Mary Zoukis Papastavros ’60 Chemistry fund. Our ultimate goal is an increased ability to provide adequate and competitive compensation to all of our graduate students. We hope you can contribute as well! To support our Chemistry graduate students through either of these funds, please visit our giving page.