Students, faculty interact at Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry research tour


CMU graduate Gaven Lienhart shows students the labs and equipment they use on Feb. 2 at the Dow Science Building. 

The American Chemical Society – Student Members hosted a tour of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Feb. 2 that allowed students to engage with faculty and research students.

The tour was took place at the Dow Science Building and the Biosciences Building, with the goal of interacting with students who have interests in chemistry and related branches of science. Attendees toured the facilities and the research currently happening while learning how they can get involved. 

Mary Tecklenburg, chair for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said she knows not all students who come, especially undergraduates, are ready to commit to being part of a research lab. 

“(The tour) just let’s them know what they can do later on if they are interested,” she said. 

Tecklenburg, who was also part of the research tour, had her lab open for students to view and observe what she and her lab group were currently working on. Her group focused on research in spectroscopy, where they are trying to use lasers that can analyze the fine details to solve issues with the molecular structure.

Majority of the labs are made of student researchers. Nathan Holmes, a biomedical science major and one of the research students in the tour’s participating lab group, educated students interested in learning more about Organic Chemistry. 

“We try to answer some of their questions and let them know what we do, and how much research there is involved,” Holmes said. 

Holmes is working on research dealing with synthesizing and using sugar molecules as a probe. Because of the research programs available to him, a lot of progress is being made. 

All those who attended received information packets on research faculty and students, along with current labs and contact information. 

Former ACS-SM President Jessica Groenevelt remembered that when she started she liked biochemistry. This interest was what inspired her to join ACS, where she later had the opportunity of being able to meet more of the researchers and shadow them in their labs. 

Following the tour was a social, where raffle tickets would be entered in for a drawing to win prizes which included things like miniature lab kits, mugs and T-shirts. During the social, students and faculty were able to freely converse while eating pizza.