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Learning Outside the Lab


Although laboratories are closed, online libraries are open. And COVID-19 isn’t stopping Associate Professor of Chemistry Max Majireck, Amy Glanzer ’21, and Holly Hutchinson ’21 from conducting chemistry research this summer.

Rather than run experiments in the research lab, as they have in previous summers, the group is putting together a literature review that describes the uses and behaviors of N-(2-alkoxyvinyl)sulfonamides. N-(2-alkoxyvinyl)sulfonamides are a “functional group,” or the reactive portion of a molecule, that have been long neglected in chemistry research. Majireck, Glanzer, and Hutchinson are pursuing the literature-based project with the aim of concentrating information about the functional group into one article. Majireck has previously researched N-(2-alkoxyvinyl)sulfonamides, publishing multiple articles on the functional group.

about Amy Glanzer ’21

Majors: Chemistry and Hispanic Studies

Hometown: Lynbrook, NY

High School: Lynbrook Senior High School

Deviating from their typical research routine, Glanzer and Hutchinson have spent the past several weeks finding and reading through online articles that mention the functional group. As the project progresses, they will also help edit the article.

Hutchinson said that working on a remote project has exposed her to other facets of chemistry research. “A lot of time needs to be spent looking at other people’s work, and you need to learn what sources are helpful … There’s another side to research beside in-lab work,” she said.

Glanzer agreed. “It’s been a different experience, but I definitely think it’s a different side of chemistry that not many undergrads will have the opportunity to experience, like writing a paper and doing the background research to write the paper. I think it’ll be an important skill to follow through with grad school. … Doing the lab work is fun and it’s what draws me to chemistry, but I think this is another important side to see.”

about Holly Hutchinson ’21

Major: Chemistry

Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.

High School: Bard High School

Majireck added that Glanzer and Hutchinson have been notably diligent and committed in their work. “Even though we’d all prefer to be in the lab, this has been a mutually beneficial experience for all of us. Both Holly and Amy are extremely smart, active, detail-oriented, and responsible ... I would not have given most students this level of responsibility and control, so that is a big testament to their skills for research,” he said.

Though eager to continue research in-person, the group is thankful that they can research remotely. Once their lab reopens, they—and others doing similar work—will ultimately be able to use the review article to help inform and guide lab research.

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