Ten current and former Hamilton Chemistry Department faculty members co-authored a chapter titled “A Departmental Focus on High Impact Undergraduate Research Experiences” in a recently published edition of the American Chemical Society Symposium Series dedicated to “Developing and Sustaining a Successful Undergraduate Research Program.”
The chapter describes courses and course components that have been designed to help students build a variety of capacities that contribute to their readiness to pursue collaborative research projects in chemistry and biochemistry.
Hamilton chemistry faculty who co-authored the chapter were Robin Kinnel, Adam VanWynsberghe, Ian Rosenstein, George Shields, Karen Brewer, Myriam Cotten, Charles Borton, SueAnn Senior, Gregory Rahn and Timothy Elgren.
The abstract for the chapter reads: “Undergraduate research experiences have become an integral part of the Hamilton College chemistry experience. The major premise of the chemistry department's curriculum is that research is a powerful teaching tool. Curricular offerings have been developed and implemented to better prepare students for the independence required for successful undergraduate research experiences offered during the academic year and the summer. The research-rich curriculum is built directly upon or derived from the scholarly research agendas of our faculty members.
Some of the activities featured in the chapter are 1) “Super lab” - the junior level Research Methods in Chemistry course that is a project-based lab course that introduces students to methods and approaches routinely encountered in the various subdisciplines of chemistry, 2) Computational Chemistry - the infrastructure put in place with significant external funding and administrative support to create opportunities for chemistry computation and broader computational collaborations and 3) “Toxicology” - the conversion of an advanced introductory lab program associated with Chemistry 125 that has students using advanced instrumentation to assess human exposure to a variety of commonly encountered toxins, mostly from consumer products.”
Curriculum development in the department has benefited from support from Hamilton College as well as external grants from Research Corporation, Clare Boothe Luce Foundation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the MERCK Undergraduate Science Research Program, the Keck Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund and the significant contributions of Ted and Ginny Taylor in the creation of the Edward and Virginia Taylor Fund for Student/Faculty Research in Chemistry.