Comments from Chemistry Faculty - Chemistry Department
The 238th National American Chemical Society Meeting:
An Enlightening Experience for our Students
Dr. Paris Svoronos, Chair, Professor
The 238th NATIONAL American Chemical Society Meeting was held in Washington DC August 16-20 2009. August 17, was the day scheduled for the undergraduate research poster session. This event highlighted the students standing in front of their posters and defending their research findings and interpretations to visiting participants of the conference.
There were exactly 200 undergraduate posters accepted for presentation. The Chemistry Department had 25 posters (12.5% of the total) - the highest number among any participating college or university. Queensborough was also the only community college that had students in this event. This was an exceptionally gratifying experience that I consider the pinnacle of teaching, learning and modifying the students’ lives. I was proud to see our freshmen and sophomores stand in their best attire displaying the maturity, behavior and knowledge in a manner no different than that of any junior or senior in a four-year college.
The effort involved the collaborative work of all nine chemistry full timers (Drs. Sasan Karimi, Irina Rutenburg, Moni Chauhan, Sharon Lall-Ramnarine, David Sarno, Jun Shin, Mihaela Bojin , Tirandai Hemraj-Benny and myself) and three CLTs (Pedro Irigoyen, Bruce Montalbano and Andrew Xu). It also included four adjuncts (Drs. Gopal Subramaniam, Soraya Svoronos, Luis Vargas and Jordan Verdis). And for the first time there was a joined work of a Biologist (Dr. Mangala Tawde) and a chemist (Dr. Moni Chauhan). The research findings were obtained during the intersession and spring break.
The faculty transformed students who were unsure of their academic future and their potential into future scientists who can compete at a comparable senior level. These faculty are not lecturers- they are teachers and mentors. Who says that Queensborough cannot make Honors students?
Monday August 17 was a good day for Queensborough. There are better days ahead of us.
Research Opportunity of Honors Class Students
Dr. Jun Shin, Associate Professor
When I mention to four year college faculty members that students conduct undergraduate research at Queensborough’s chemistry department, I am usually stared upon with curiosity. However when I continue to say that our undergraduate students regularly participate at national and regional conferences where they present their research results, their eyes open wide with unexpected surprise. Yes, undergraduate research at a community college is rare and not common. Presenting research findings at a national conference as a main author? “Priceless!”
When I joined the chemistry department at QCC five and a half years ago, it was very difficult for me to find a student who wanted to conduct research because it was extra work to do without course credit. Now I have to find a nice and polite way to say “I have no more room for extra students.” Many of our honors class students are involved in research every year because taking an honors class may be a good pathway to join a research group. As research students, they are exposed to modern technology such as FT-NMR, FT-IR, UV-Vis, SEM, HPLC, MS-GC and x-ray fluorescence as a first-hand user which is, of course, unheard of to first or second year undergraduate students (www.qcc.cuny.edu/Chemistry/instrument.html).
Every year all research students and their mentors in our department go to professional conferences. Twenty five (25) students had poster presentations at the National American Chemical Society Meeting, the largest chemistry conference in the world, in Washington DC last summer (www.qcc.cuny.edu/Chemistry/ACS_2009.html). A research presentation is a good thing to add in a resume, but more important it benefits the building of confidence through experimentation and presentation. Many students look nervous and even scared before their first conference, but later I can see them enjoy their achievement. Some of them have an opportunity to publish their research results in a professional journal (www.qcc.cuny.edu/Chemistry/publications.html). In an honors class, a student will find the opportunity and experience never expected otherwise.
My Association with the Honors Classes in Chemistry Department:
First the Teaching; Now the Research
Dr. Soraya Svoronos, Adjunct Associate Professor
I have been associated with Honors classes in the Chemistry Department since their inception in 2000.
It is certainly a great experience to see the academic development of our Queensborough students via this program. I have witnessed this during the first four Annual QCC Honors Conferences where my students made power point presentations. At the beginning these students have absolutely no interest in chemistry. At the end of the semester these same individuals are ready to stand for 15 minutes and talk about a specific topic they have picked out of the course syllabus.
In January 2009 I was involved in a research project with a student in the chemistry department in which we measured the quantitative determination of the antioxidant gallic acid in tea beverages. The student, Rana Said, presented her findings first at the 5th Annual Honors QCC Conference in April and at the 57th Undergraduate Research Symposium of the American Chemical Society- NY section on May 2 at Pace University both in power point form. Rana also presented her work as a poster, at the 238th National American Chemical Society Meeting in Washington DC in August.
Over the years I have taught as an adjunct in at least four different senior colleges and have never detected the interest in mentoring by basically all full time faculty that is evident in Queensborough’s Chemistry Department. The students have extensive research and internship opportunities through the Honors Program that solidify their perception of the true scientific world they will encounter as professionals upon graduation.
The Fourth Honors Annual Conference- April 18, 2008
Dr. Paris Svoronos, Chair, Professor
Once more the Annual Honors College Conference proved to be a grand day for both the students and their mentors. On Friday April 18, 2008 almost 150 abstracts were presented by about 200 students from ten academic departments in the Medical Arts well area. These included mostly power point presentations as well as readings, debates and discussions as well as the electronic masterpiece demonstrations by the ECET department.
For the first time we had whole classrooms dedicated to Business, Math, English, Theater and Biology honors students. For the first time we had a music performance and four different honors foreign languages (Italian, Spanish, German and Chinese) represented. And for the first time we had power points from chemistry students’ honors work in five different courses. Once more History and Social Sciences contributed with Honors contracts. Four chairs mentored students and half of the academic chairs were in attendance. The whole event lasted almost three hours with the administration led by President Marti, VPs King, Call, Hartigan and Zins and Deans Steele, Corradetti and Larios sitting in several presentations.
What was truly priceless was the confidence, self assurance and incredible poise all presenters displayed. The elation was evident in the faces of all kids who had dedicated hours of hard work for that “D Day”. Ditto to their mentors who decided to undertake the task of setting the bar high and coaching their students to go over it. Full timers and a half dozen of adjuncts and CLTs worked diligently and were proud to see the fruits of their effort materialize. The program book was beautifully prepared by Carol Imandt and masterfully printed by Fred Feinstein.
An event such as the Fourth Annual Honors Conference provides one more proof of how our institution has changed its academic direction in the last eight years. The Honors program has become the aggregate of learning communities, cornerstone and capstone courses and a clear indication of the inevitable success of the Academies’ idea. It also represents an assessment of the pedagogical successes of our young and enthusiastic instructors coupled with the seasoned experience of the old timers. Finally a great proof of collegiality, support and belief in the “team spirit” was evidenced by the decision of all kids to stay in their room even though they were done with the presentations simply because they felt it was important that they stay with their fellow classmates during the time of challenge. Yes, there are even better days ahead of us here at Queensborough. All of you are invited to the Fifth Annual Honors Conference on May 1.
A Successful Story of Honors General Chemistry II Class
Dr. Moni Chauhan, Associate Professor
The General Chemistry II honors class gives me the opportunity to teach some of the best students in the college. These students are dedicated, hard working, at times very passionate and willing to learn. Among these students I choose two students every year to conduct original research under my guidance in the field of “Nanoparticle Synthesis and Characterization”. Since last year I have an honors student Eunchul Kim conducting research who has proven himself to be among the best undergraduate researchers I have ever had. He spends several hours in the lab every week, and is well versed with several instrumentation techniques like electron Scanning Microscope, Infra Red Spectrometer and Proton NMR. He has already presented the results of his research at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia in August 2008. This year also he will be presenting his findings at National, regional and International meetings. The concept of honors classes is great as it gives us the opportunity to go beyond the text books and teach the students the “scientific research” and “scientific method”. Students tend to get more interested in sciences and continue in STEM fields.
Mentoring Students at a Community College: An Unusual Experience
Dr. Mihaela D. Bojin, Assistant Professor
I have joined Queensborough Community College as tenure-track faculty in the Fall of 2007 and have followed the trend in the Chemistry Department to expose the better students in research and conference presentation. So far, I have mentored four undergraduate students, and although the journey started as a difficult one, since they are all freshmen, their progress is remarkable. We work on two projects: 1) quantum mechanical calculations of inter- and intramolecular interactions in amino acids, specifically hydrogen bonds, associations essential in shaping proteins and enzymes, and 2) protonation states of dihydrofolate reductase, changes in hydrogen bonding patterns, and its inhibition mechanism by methotrexate. These projects require knowledge of prior literature, computational skills, and a critical chemical understanding, which my students have quickly acquired. Stirring enthusiasm, independence, and motivation is vital in every research group, and I strive to inspire these values to my group. I believe that presentations at conferences and writing scientific papers are essential in setting students on a firm scientific trajectory. Two of my students, Alexdandru Pestesi and Elizabeth Cipriana have already presented their work at the 236th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia, the 40th Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) 2008, as well as in Undergraduate Research conferences both as power point and poster form.
Finally, my utmost research goals are to empower my students, get them excited by and interested in the complex questions associated with chemistry, as during this process we all discover original ways to think new and old problems.
My Experience with Honor Students
Dr. Tirandai Hemraj-Benny, Assistant Professor
As a first-year tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Queensborough Community College. I have always found not only the staff and faculty members of this department, but most importantly, the students of this college to be truly remarkable individuals. I have had the fortunate opportunity to mentor three of Queensborough Community College’s research students for the past two semesters. Toor Noori, Chi Kwan Wong and Christina Badal have been studying and investigating the purification and functionalization of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes for potential electronic and sensor applications. These students have always shown great interest in their research and have always been responsible individuals in the laboratory. Overall, they have demonstrated potential in becoming great young scientists. I truly have found the experience of working together with these three students extremely rewarding and motivating. They are all ready to present their findings at the 5th Annual Queensborough Honors Conference and the 57th Undergraduate Research Symposium of the American Chemical Society-NY section at Pace University in May.
Dr. Paris Svoronos, Chair, Professor
The Chemistry Department was one of the first departments that started offering Honors classes in the Spring 2000 semester. Since that time the program has succeeded in bringing together students in “unofficial” learning communities that also include Mathematics, Biology and Physics classes. More important is the fact that students have involved themselves with research opportunities both at Queensborough and outside institutions, such as Queens College, the College of Staten Island, St. John’s University, The Food and Drug Administration and Mount Sinai Medical Center.
As a direct result of this involvement honors students have made both oral (power point) and poster presentations of their own research findings at local, regional and national meetings of the American Chemical society. Our own students have traveled to Washington, D.C and Anaheim, CA to national meetings as well as other regional meetings at Princeton University, Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania. They have also participated at the undergraduate research symposia that were held at Fordham University, Pace University, Hofstra University, Long Island University-Brooklyn and Stony Brook. In 2000 the Queensborough presentations represented only 3% of the total number made at the Undergraduate Research Symposium-New York section. In 2005 this number rose to 40.3% with the rest going to four-year college students who are generally juniors and seniors, while ours are freshmen and sophomores.
Dr. Sasan Karimi, Associate Professor
I have been conducting research with students since I arrived at Queensborough 7 years ago. Most of the projects are laboratory based and are conducted at Queens College due to insufficient research space and facilities at Queensborough. The projects involve the synthesis of several tricyclic sesquiterpenoid natural products (e.g. sativene, longifolene, and ylangene) and the preparation and reaction of chiral oxycarbanions. My experience with students who do research has been very fruitful. The results of some of the works have already been published in peer reviewed journals including the names of students and faculty who were involved in the projects.
Most of the students that I engaged in doing research are those who have completed their freshman chemistry and are taking organic chemistry I. They are introduced to the concepts of organic chemistry in lecture, and the various lab techniques in the laboratory portion of the course. When involved in research, students persist on getting results and invest a lot of time in achieving them. After graduating from Queensborough, many will transfer to Queens College or other CUNY or SUNY campuses or institutions in the tri-state area. It is a pleasure mentoring these students.
Teaching an Honors Class is Fascinating
Dr. Moni Chauhan, Assistant Professor
Every semester I look forward to teaching the General Chemistry II Honors section and the reason for that is the enthusiasm and motivation of students that I see in this class to show their best performance. This semester’s students are eager to do more and more problem solving even beyond their recommended text book so that they score better than the others. This brings in a lot of competition and effort among them. Like every semester these students will be making 10-15 minute long oral presentations on the applications of the topics covered in this course.
I have also introduced and piloted the concept of writing a short paper on the topic of their presentation in a scientific and stepwise manner. I believe in making chemical science writing intensive, in order to develop the student’s skills in writing, disseminating and articulating the scientific experimental process. Students also write lab reports in detail expressing their observations and conclusions of the experiments done in the honors General Chemistry II lab. There is a one to one interaction with the students which helps me pick some of them to do original research with me which results in publications in peer reviewed journals and presentations at national and international conferences. Overall teaching an Honors class is always a rewarding and gratifying experience for me.
What Makes it an “Honors” Class?
Dr. David Sarno, Assistant Professor
In my second year as a faculty member in the QCC Chemistry Department, I've been given the opportunity to teach the Honors Lab section for General Chemistry I (CH-151). As expected, the students are all dedicated and enthusiastic, and working with them every week is much fun. The experiments are the same for all sections of this course, so we have devised two ways to set it apart and make it worth the “Honors” title. The Chemistry Department hosts a monthly seminar in which invited speakers from other colleges and universities present their research. Our students attend these seminars, which have covered a variety of topics such as environmental remediation, advances in nanochemistry, and the NYC water supply. They must then prepare summaries of the presentations that include additional information on the topic, usually obtained from the speaker’s website. The goal of these assignments is not only for the students to improve their writing and note-taking skills, but also to expose them to cutting-edge research that is often happening right in their own neighborhood. There is no doubt that these experiences have prompted many of our own students to pursue research projects with faculty mentors from QCC.
The second assignment is a “Science and Society” project. Scientific discoveries and their implications have become central to several public debates, especially in the biochemical sciences (e.g. stem cell research and genetic engineering). Scientific literacy is absolutely essential if one is to make informed decisions regarding complex issues. Our Honors students are identifying a topic of interest and researching it in the popular literature (newspapers, magazines, internet, etc.). By understanding the core of the controversy from technical and non-technical viewpoints, they can then form an educated opinion on the subject. This project is a new edition to Honors CH-151 and we are very excited to see the results of the student’s investigations.
Why They Are in the Honors Class?
Dr. Jun Shin, Assistant Professor
Although I have had chances to work with honors students in research in the past, this is my first semester to encounter them in the class (both in CH-152 lab and CH-121 lab). My first impression is that these students know, communicate and care about each other very well, often (such as in CH-152) because this is not the first class they have been together. At the same time the CH-121 students are willing to listen, pay attention and trust the judgment of the instructor. They do not compete for a better grade but instead help each other to improve their knowledge and ability in chemistry and their future. As a result better grades become a consequence of this effort. The honors students are not only proven to have academic ability but are also equipped with interest in the sciences which will lead them to another level.
“Thinking” is very important in science because all the scientific research results begin with an “idea” which involves “thinking”. In the laboratory courses, many students just follow the procedure described in the lab manual but this is not research. To inspire the students I use the concept of cooking.
If you are cooking by following a recipe then you can be a good assistant cook but not a good cook. To be a good cook, you have to think continuously why pre-treating a type of food, why adding an ingredient at a given time, why heating for a specified period are significant. Good scientists are the same. They always think why, why, and why. I believe that the honors students are the ones who think “why” in the laboratory, and that is what makes them different from the “regular” class students. This is exactly why they are in the honor class.
Honors Chemistry 151
Dr. Paris Svoronos, Chair, Professor
Since its inception in the Fall 2001 semester, the Honors General Chemistry (CH-151) section has developed into an exciting opportunity for health science students to participate in a challenging environment that involves peers of comparable ability preparing themselves for transfer to four-year colleges. The course is designed for all programs that lead to engineering, medical, dental, veterinarian, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy and other related fields. The classes have no more than 15 students each and involve extensive testing (seven one-hour exams and a final), as well as asking students to work problems on the blackboard and answering any questions fellow students may have. As a result of this course, most students have continued with Honors General Chemistry II, as well as conducting research within or outside the department. Fourteen of our students have made oral presentations at the 51st Undergraduate Research Symposium of the American Chemical Society at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, in May 2003, thirteen of whom made poster presentations at the 36th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting at Princeton University in June 2003. Finally, the best seven posters qualified for the 226th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, which was held at the Javits Center on September 8-11, 2003. Several of the students have transferred to four-year colleges like Cooper Union, St. John’s University, Stony Brook, Queens College, the College of Staten Island, and City College.
News from Dr. Chauhan’s Class
Dr. Moni Chauha, Assistant Professor
I have taught CH-152: Honors General Chemistry for the last four semesters. I have immensely enjoyed teaching this class, as I have the best students who are eager to learn and compete. Honors students are articulate, conscientious, hard working, and curious. They read, think, write and analyze very well. They enjoy being included as active participants in the learning process and thrive in class discussions. These students have diverse skills, interests and aspirations, and I try to enhance these skills as much as possible. Every semester these students make 20-minute oral power-point presentations related to the topics covered in the class. They explore the web and find out the applications of the material and put it all together in the form of a presentation (special project).
From this honors class I get to pick at least two students every semester to do research projects with me in collaboration with the College of Staten Island. In summer 2003, Shiva K. Avvari, working under my mentorship, was invited to make an oral presentation at the Beacon Conference on June 6th at Ulster County Community College, Stone Ridge, New York. Beacon is a highly competitive conference and involves community colleges from four states (New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey). Our publication was chosen by readers from three different community colleges as one of the three outstanding papers from 126 submissions of 18 community colleges in the field of natural and physical science. This was the first time that Queensborough has participated in the conference.
Two students from the Queensborough Chemistry Department’s honors class, Maung Z. Chan and Richard Pantano, continue to do original research at the College of Staten Island. Mr. Pantano was also selected as a participant in the NYC Louis Strokes Alliance for Minority Participa-tion’s research experience program. Richard received an AMP scholarship of $3,000 during the summer and fall of 2003 to enhance his research and educational skills. He attended the Third International Workshop on Silicon-Containing Polymers, June 23-25, 2003, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York. He is also traveling with me in March 2004 to the American Chemical Society meeting at Anaheim, California, where he will make a poster presentation. This is a rare opportunity for a community college student, and a feather in our college’s cap.
The Honors Program in Chemistry: A Venue of Great Success
Dr. Paris Svoronos, Chair, Professor
Since the spring 2001 semester, the Chemistry Department has succeeded in offering honors classes every semester. These courses have been extremely beneficial in developing the communication, collaborative and academic skills of our students. The courses offered include General Chemistry I and II, as well as the research/internship courses (CH-900, 901, 902 and 903). In addition CH-120, Funda-mentals of Chemistry, is offered as a "late" course every spring.
Most of the students who complete these courses are either health science students or undecided and switch to the sciences after these experiences. The incorporation of oral presentations in General Chemistry II, the internships at the Food and Drug Administration, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Cold Spring Harbor, among others, and the possibility of the better students conducting workshops for the lower-level classes are great opportunities that can be included in student resumes. Several students (usually second-year but occasionally also first-year) have done collaborative research work with St. John’s University, Queens College, the College of Staten Island and faculty from other colleges that have led to at least 70 student presentations in the last year in local, regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society. At least four peer-reviewed articles bearing our students’ names have been published in the last three years, and at least five more are in the writing process.
The honors students have developed a tremendously close relationship with their fellow classmates, surpassing every religious, political or ethnic barrier. Through this form of education, I have seen people getting along in a way that has produced enormously constructive results. At Queensborough, we do not have honors students. We create honors students.
Teaching Honors Chemistry 152 Lab: A Different Experience
Dr. Moni Chauhan, Assistant Professor
As in the past, I was involved this past semester in teaching the General Chemistry 152 honors lab. I find these students enthusiastic and highly motivated to perform to their personal best. They are responsible and are generally proactive when it comes to dealing with any problems that might arise in the lab. In this class, I introduced and piloted the concept of writing lab reports in a scientific and stepwise manner. The students started with difficulty, but by the end of the semester most of them did well and up to my expectations. This was a small class, which allowed active discussions and one-on-one interaction. I also felt that the classroom competition stressed stimulated academic rigor and active learning. I placed the emphasis on the lecture part of the course and correlated the experiment with all that they learned in theory in order to put it in practice. Overall, teaching an honors class is always a very fruitful and fulfilling experience and allows me to experiment with new teaching concepts and individualized attention.
Teaching Honors Chemistry II for the First Time
Dr. Daqing Gao, Assistant Professor
It has been a privilege for me to have the opportunity to teach the Honors General Chemistry II course (CH-152) during the spring semester of 2004. This is a small class that has only 15 students. The class size enables me to quickly become familiar with every student and get to know everybody’s strengths and weaknesses. Thus, my subsequent instructions are tailored to meet these students’ unique needs. First, I use power-point presentations to give clear and concise introductions to the important concepts, facts and principles. The power-point slides also include standard solved examples to demonstrate the procedures to solve problems by using the newly obtained knowledge. I also spend a large amount of class time with students to do end-of-chapter exercises and practices. "Challenging and motivating students" mostly takes place at this stage. I feel very excited during many warm discussions. Such interactive activities always make students alert and concentrated. Students often get a sense of fulfillment after the class, as do I. Second, this semester’s general chemistry covers thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium, solutions and electrochemistry. These materials are highly related to each other. To demonstrate the connections, I repeatedly write down all the concepts and equations that have been covered on the blackboard from scratch without looking at any note or text, making students appreciate the logic of science. This can help students distinguish between scientific deductions and routine memorizations in their learning process and eventually help them find their own ways of effective learning. Third, I continue to carry on the tradition of this honors chemistry course by asking each student to give a 15-20 minute power-point presentation that is related to chemistry. I also introduce students to different curve-fitting techniques to plot numerical data. And last, I will be able to convince some students from this class to get involved in original research work, and help them present and publish their discoveries. It is definitely a pleasure to see them grow intellectually. In all, this honors class has a much higher standard than the usual courses. I have been trying to make it enjoyable and rewarding, however, to everybody. It is demanding, but not formidable. Moreover, the Honors Scholars Program acts as an effective vehicle to build the student’s confidence at this early stage of their higher education pursuits.
Teaching Fundamentals of Chemistry Honors
Dr. Soraya Svoronos, Adjunct Associate Professor
This past spring was the fourth spring semester the “Fundamentals of Chemistry” honors class was offered. Once more I was asked to teach it. This class marks the beginning of chemistry for many students who end up with either health science or engineering careers when they leave Queensborough. One of these students, in fact, is currently at Cooper Union, at least five are in pharmacy school, and half a dozen more are at Queens College following a degree in chemistry or biochemistry. The class is very interactive and students are asked to solve problems on the board with full explanation of the solution pitfalls. The major event in this course involves a twenty-minute oral presentation of a topic in chemistry. Topics this semester included the Atkins diet, the role of shampoo, the effect of smoking, the life of Marie Curie and others that are related to student interests. Four students in the class — Erin Robinson, Howard Schneider, Julio Romero and Sherman Belle — participated as volunteers at the 52nd American Chemical Society (ACS) Symposium, New York section, on May 1. They showed their dedication to the course by donating their time to make arrangements for the symposium, serving as hosts, working on registration, securing the signs, and helping our guests. These students made 2004 a success in the honors program. They are all excited and are looking forward to join the Honors CH-151 class in the fall 2004 semester.
Experiencing Research: Honors Students to Attend the 51st American Chemical Society Symposium for Undergraduate Research
Dr. Paris Svoronos, Chair, Professor
Several honors students have registered for CH-902 and 903, courses offered to students who do faculty-supervised, independent research with the intent to present their results to various American Chemical Society conferences. This is a very unusual task for a community college student who usually has to compete or at least be at the same level as any junior or senior attending a baccalaureate institution.
Such students have had great success in the last three years. As a result of their hard work, Monica Delezaeta and Wajiha Sattar, two graduates from Spring 2002, succeeded by contributing to the first-ever peer-reviewed publication by a Queensborough student. The research results were obtained on the premises, and the article appeared last November in Tetrahedron Letters, a well-reputed chemistry journal. Drs. Sasan Karimi and Paris Svoronos supervised their work. The most important aspect of this activity is the maturity obtained by the students, who proceed to get their name in a journal and transfer to such colleges as Queens and the College of Staten Island. Several of our graduates have transferred and continue to work with our faculty.
On May 3, fourteen (14) students made oral presentations at the 51st American Chemical Society (ACS) Symposium for Undergraduate Research at Long Island University, Brooklyn campus. Some of these students have their work done at Queensborough. The work of others is being done in collaboration with Queens College, St. John’s University, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Jamaica, New York, and the College of Staten Island. Most will continue with poster presentations at the Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) of the ACS, which will be held on June 8-11 at Princeton University.
Honors Chemistry: The Late-Starting Option
Dr. Soraya Svoronos, Adjunct Associate Professor
During the spring semester of 2003, the Chemistry Department offered a late-starting honors CH-120/121 (Fundamen-tals of Chemistry) section. This course is often taken as a prep course for upper chemistry classes needed for any health science programs. However, most of the students that register for it are non- science majors who take it to fulfill their lab science requirement. These include business, education and liberal arts fields.
One of the requirements of this class is that the students make a 20-minute oral power- point presentation to their classmates on a topic related to chemistry and its applications. The first topic, the periodic table, was covered by Shazia Timizi, who discussed the conditions for this classification and the similarity of various elements in their chemical properties. Shazia’s talk was followed by Sean Murray ("Chemical Reactions in Daily Ordinary Things"), Natalia Petunina ("Snow Crystals: No Two Snow Flakes Are Alike"), Pawel Wojnowski ("The Importance of Nuclear Energy"), Behdad Mehdyzadeh ("Chemistry in the World of Cooking"), and Yeung Jin Kim ("Complex Compounds"). For the first time three students will be collaborating on a joint project ("Chemistry and Diseases"), each one covering a different aspect. These are Feifeng Zhu ("SARS"), Bhumika Chavda ("Cholesterol"), and Mariana Naim ("Hepatitis C").
After having taught all types of chemistry classes as an adjunct in eight different institutions, I can say that this class is the most creative and exciting. I see the students collaborating and working together in a truly academic environment. It is important to see many more honors classes offered at Queensbor-ough because their students will enhance the image of the college while boosting their confidence. Honors students who took this same class in the past are currently graduating with aspirations to earn transfer degrees in the health sciences and engineering after starting as "undecided" or GED freshmen.