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Student Research

The department continues to encourage our students to pursue research through working with faculty in the summer as well as with the senior research thesis. The faculty believe research provides the opportunity for the student to experience the excitement (and sometimes frustration) of science learned in their courses. The faculty has also been involved in research. Dr. Michael Dorko and Dr. Ron Hemingway received the Medbery Research Mentor Award for their work with undergraduate students in the research laboratory.

This summer we had 5 students involved in research with our faculty and 1 student participating in an internship with MeadWestvaco. Joshua Neeper (rising senior), Holly Horton (rising sophomore), Ben Cook (rising senior), Rick Shriner (rising senior), and Sam Harbison (rising junior) participated in undergraduate research with Dr. Hemingway, Dr. Bevsek, Dr. Dorko and Dr. Adair. Matt Hill (rising senior) worked with scientists in the Oilfield Chemicals Division of MeadWestvaco. They were involved in the following research projects:

  • Quantification of urea in soil from plant fertilizer
  • Theoretical investigation of anesthetic binding sites in ligand-gated channels
  • Fabrication of an ultra-micro ion selective electrode utilizing multiwall carbon nanotubes suspended in a polymer membrane
  • Investigation of sources and sinks of variable methane in the Martian atmosphere
  • Identification of contaminants in air, water and on surfaces in Byrd Hall
  • Thermodynamics of Oil Drilling Lubricants

Dr. Holly Bevsek organized a biweekly lunch time research meeting for the faculty and students from Chemistry and Physics to share their work. The students highlighted recent results, successes, and challenges and offered support and helpful tips to each other.

This “group” meeting was funded by the Chemistry Department and the Dean of the School of Science and Mathematics. Students working with faculty in the department received small stipends from the Jane Allan and Samuel Adam Wideman Student Research Fellowship. Funding for chemicals and supplies were supported by the department through the Chemistry Restricted Fund (donations through TCF) and the Citadel Foundation (TCF) Faculty Research Grants to faculty. Matt Hill’s internship was funded by MeadWestvaco.

Patrick Riley and Dr. Ronald Hemingway at the National ACS Meeting in San Diego

Patrick Riley and Dr. Ronald Hemingway at the National ACS Meeting in San Diego

During the 2011-2012 academic year, 6 students worked with faculty on their senior research thesis. They prepared proposals, completed the research and presented their findings in a seminar, thesis and oral defense. Four students presented their research at the National American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego in March. The trip was funded through a TCF award for Cadet Travel. The following papers were presented by the students and their faculty mentors:

Reaction of methane with perchloric acid adsorbed on a Martian soil simulantAnna M. Fuzy and Holly M. Bevsek.

Reaction of methane with hydrogen peroxide adsorbed on a Martian soil simulantD. Evan Eich and Holly M. Bevsek.

A unique Ultra Micro Electrode (UME) Ion Selective Electrode (ISE) utilizing an Interface between Two Immiscible Electrolyte Solvents (ITIES) is fabricated with a Detection Cross Section as small as 5 Micrometers John Jordan and Ronald Hemingway.

The Development of Chemistry in Dichloroethane for an ITIES based Ultra Micro Ion Selective Electrode for Copper Patrick Riley and Ronald Hemingway.

Dr. Holly Bevsek adn Anna Fuzy at the National ACS Meeting in San Diego

Dr. Holly Bevsek and Anna Fuzy at the National ACS Meeting in San Diego

These students also presented their findings at The Citadel Undergraduate Research Conference in March. John Jordan received an award for his presentation.

The faculty has received grants from the Citadel Foundation and the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium (SCSGC). Dr. Holly Bevsek received a grant from the SCSGC to investigate "Reaction of Methane with Hydrogen Peroxide Adsorbed on a Martian Soil Analog". Dr. Bevsek, Dr. Blanton, Dr. Dorko and Dr. Adair received grants from the Citadel Foundation (TCF) to support their research projects. Dr. Bevsek’s TCF supported research project involves reactions of nitrogen oxides in carbon nanotubes. Dr. Dorko’s research project is a theoretical investigation of beryllium sulfide and magnesium sulfide clusters as possible hydrogen storage materials. Dr. Blanton’s research examines chiral catalysts and reagents for use in novel asymmetric syntheses. Dr. Adair’s research is to develop, validate, and optimize sample collection and preparation techniques for quantification of biologically and environmentally relevant metals.

National ACS meeting in San Diego

Cadets John Jordan, Patrick Riley, Anna Fuzy and Evan Eich at the Exhibition Hall at the National ACS meeting in San Diego

Additionally, faculty and students (names underlined) had the following papers published this year:

Randall W. Hicks and Holly M. Bevsek, “Utilizing Problem-Based Learning in Qualitative Analysis Lab Experiments”, Journal of Chemical Education, 2012, 89(2), 254-257.

Brian C. Hixson, John W. Jordan, Erica L. Wagner, Holly M. Bevsek, “Reaction Products and Kinetics of the Reaction of NO2 with gamma-Fe2O3”, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 2011, 115(46), 13364-13369.

Blanton, J.R. Clark, R.W. Asymmetric Syntheses Utilizing Crown Ethers with Chiral Appendages as Phase Transfer Catalysts. Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research, 2012 11(2), 25-28.

SJ Christopher, EL Kilpatrick, LL Yu, WC Davis, BM Adair. Preliminary evaluation of a microwave-assisted metal-labeling strategy for quantification of peptides via RPLC–ICP-MS and the method of standard additions. Talanta, 2012. 88: 749-758.

HJ Clewell, RS Thomas, EM Kenyon, MF Hughes, BM Adair, PR Gentry, JW Yager.

Concentration and Time-dependent Genomic Changes in the Mouse Urinary

Bladder Following Exposure to Arsenate in Drinking Water for up to 12 Weeks.

Toxicological Sciences. 2011 123: 421-432.