Author: Jessica Guillory
Date: April 29, 2016
Categories: Chemistry

On April 9, seven students and two professors from the Houghton College department of chemistry attended the Ninth Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium sponsored by the Western New York Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The group included Daniel Hammers ’17, Jordan Scott ’17, Grace Hollenbeck ’16, David Tse ’16, Michael Hardy ’17, Wesley Payette ’17, David Frei ’16, Dr. John Rowley and Dr. Karen Torraca. 

“Having students present their research at a symposium is invaluable in helping students learn to communicate with others about the project and the process of problem-solving,” said Torraca. “We were excited to also take a few students who were not presenting posters. These students were able to observe the kinds of research occurring at other schools, and they were also able to attend a keynote lecture from a top-notch professor in chemistry, Dr. M.G. Finn. These symposia are great for helping to inspire and encourage students to complete research while they are at Houghton.”

Hosted at Canisius College, the symposium was attended by students and faculty from 13 institutions and featured 44 presentations on widely ranging research topics. 

Hollenbeck presented research that she conducted with Rowley, entitled “Convenient Synthesis of Biodegradable Glycopolymers.” Hammers and Scott presented research they conducted with Torraca entitled “Palladium Catalyzed Reactions: Furthering the Search for a Greener Oxidation Pathway.” The students worked on these research projects last summer as part of the college’s Summer Research Institute, a program that brings together motivated physics, chemistry, biology, math and computer science students into a more intense research environment. 

Torraca said, “I am always so proud to see our students present research at symposia. They do such a good job of trying to clearly communicate their research in a professional way. I am also excited that so many students were willing to take one of their Saturdays to attend the symposium.”

In the chemistry department at Houghton College, experienced Christian faculty members prepare and equip students interested in biochemistry, molecular biology, organic chemistry, physical chemistry and analytical chemistry to define and answer significant questions about our world. Students pursuing a degree in chemistry or biochemistry learn to think critically and apply their knowledge to real-world problems. A degree in biochemistry or chemistry from Houghton College provides opportunities for a variety of fulfilling careers ranging from health professions to industrial research.