Chemistry has emerged as the base of many interdisciplinary subjects such as biotechnology, materials science, molecular biology, and environmental science. Guilford Chemistry courses are designed for students to explore these interactions and actively build their knowledge in the classroom and lab. Chemistry students at all levels are encouraged to participate in research, through courses such as the Integrated Laboratory sequence, collaboration with faculty during the semester, or summer research experiences at Guilford or other institutions. Guilford Chemistry majors have pursued a variety of careers, including chemistry and biochemistry research, teaching, medicine, patent law, business, environmental science, forensic science, molecular biology, pharmacology, toxicology, materials science, geochemistry, and chemical physics.
A Student’s Perspective
So what makes Chemistry such a warm and fuzzy place?
Well it’s not the three hour long labs, which are fun and a great place to catch up on your lab partner’s love life or your homework, and I don’t even think it’s the classes, as informative as they are. It’s the environment.
The resources of the department are available to even the most flammable first year student. That includes the computers, the IR, the GC, the NMR, the HPLC, and all the other toys that chemists use to do that thing that they do so well.
In the Chemistry Student Study Areas, a.k.a. Frank 314 and 325, we even have all the comforts of home, provided all you have at home is a fridge, a microwave, a coffeemaker and all the Chemistry reference books you need to complete your labs and assignments. Hang around long enough and you can get your own space in Frank 304, the Chemistry Student Office.
Studying science at Guilford is a unique experience. It’s flexible–we currently have students studying everything from ionic liquids to peptide conformations to chemiluminesence to molecular dynamics. Guilford is a small dynamic school, small enough that you really get to know your professors.
So explore away!
(Original text by alumni Tajhia Whigham, B.S. Chemistry. Tajhia is currently a scientist in Pharmaceutical Development at GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park, N.C.)
“Integrated Lab was a memorable growth experience involving learning-by-doing and part of my induction into a research-oriented career. Integrated Lab took a large step beyond traditional pedagogy and delivered an authentic research experience”
- Carl Willis, Nuclear Engineer, Qynergy Corporation.
Majors are strongly encouraged to participate in an industrial or governmental internship, pursue undergraduate research during the semester or summer, and/or study abroad as part of their experience at Guilford. Recent locations where Guilford Chemistry students have completed internships or summer research include:
- Greensboro Water Department
- Syngenta Crop Protection
- University of Kentucky
- Georgetown University
- Duke University
- University of Southern Mississippi
- University of Bristol, England
- Medical College of Wisconsin
Integrated Laboratory is the unique experience for Chemistry students at Guilford. Research-centered and team-based, Integrated Lab shows students how to use their learning in a real-world research experience. The Chemistry professors form research teams from organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry students, and even students in the honors section of the Chemical Principles class. Each year, faculty members choose a different research topic as the starting point, such as chemiluminescence, host-guest chemistry, ionic liquids, or palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions (the bases for the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry). Each team then develops and executes an original research project based on the topic. A faculty research advisor guides the team, but all major decisions are the responsibility of the team. Each team presents their work in a poster session at the end of the semester.
Success in Integrated Lab requires bringing forward the talents and creativity of the entire team. The team has to research and read the literature, develop an original and feasible idea, order chemicals and equipment, and perform the experiments and analysis to figure out what the results mean.
Chemistry majors take Integrated Lab several times, taking on an increasing leadership role each successive year.
Titles of recent Integrated Laboratory research projects include:
What Guilford alumni say about Integrated Laboratory:
- Bis-(2,4,6-trichlorophenyl)malonate and quenching of luminescence with 2-bromo-9,10-diphenylanthracene
- Chemiluminescent Detection of Propoxur via HPLC
- Modeling Aromatic Ring Coupling for Polymer Formation Using Simultaneous Suzuki and Heck Reactions
- The Comparison of the Atom Economy of Two Different Methods of Isolating (Z)-Anethole
- Modification of Green Suzuki Reaction Using a Novel Catalyst and an Alternate Aryl Halide
“A great strength of integrated lab was having the freedom to choose basically any research topic that corresponded to the background information and initial experiments. This allowed us to discover something we were passionate about and/or interested in. Integrated Lab really captured my attention every year, even when we had difficulties and group issues. The lessons learned in Integrated Lab are invaluable to anyone who participates in it, even if he or she does not intend on a career in chemistry. I would do it again if I could!” – Dana Small, Medical Student, Lincoln Memorial University.
“I am really grateful to have been able to participate in Integrated Lab, and consider it to be one of the most valuable learning experiences I had during my undergraduate studies. Integrated Lab is a great means of providing students with an idea of how research really works and allows them to see if they are suited for research.” – Kim Heck, Ph.D. Student, Molecular Genetics, The Ohio State University.