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Chemistry and Biochemistry News

The Inorganic Chemistry class recently demonstrated their success at making the classic "1-2-3 superconductor" in lab.  The name comes from the required proportion of metal atoms in the the formula, YBa2Cu3O7​.  A correctly synthesized​ superconductor will repel other magnetic substances when it is cooled below its critical temperature.  The students were able to demonstrate this effect by using liquid nitrogen to cool the superconductor pellets and then levitate small fragments of magnets above them. Pictured above is a successfully levitated magnet!

Did you know that the $1 bill has not had a face-lift since 1963?  Did you know U.S. currency is one of the most difficult to counterfeit and that most notes have over a dozen anti-counterfeit features? Did you also know that the detection of counterfeit currency is under the purview of the United States Secret Service? Students and guests in Introduction to Forensic Science learned all this and more when alumnae Julia Wikoff Barker (BS'10/MS'11) visited to give a seminar on questioned document evidence. Julia brought samples of currency, both authentic and counterfeit, for students to examine, and quizzed everyone on their ability to match handwriting samples. She is a chemistry and forensic science graduate and is now a Forensic Document Examiner for the U.S. Secret Service. In her work, she examines all kinds of evidence, from falsified contracts and identification to counterfeit currency. 

A new seminar course in the chemistry program this year is Career Development in Chemistry. Students learn about alternative careers, directed resume, personal statement and cover letter writing, the importance of networking and social media presence and science-specific interview skills. In class last week, students took turns being the interviewer and interviewee, while a third student took notes.  Dr. Ward recorded the interview so that students can see where to make improvements.

Junior biochemistry major Delaney Patterson and sophomore biochemistry major Sehlah Butt have been working with chemistry faculty member Dr. Will Harrell this semester. His research focuses on the synthesis of 1,2,3-triazole based derivatives as potential anion receptor and binder. In the long term, these sorts of complexes can potentially serve as therapies for patients who suffer from electrolyte mobility and transport issues, such as in cystic fibrosis, heart disease or Alzheimer's.

It's advising time! Academic advising is an important part of Career Architecture at Stevenson. First year chemistry and biochemistry students work with a Student Success Coach to plan their schedules, but are then assigned to a full-time faculty member until they graduate. Students are required to meet with their academic advisor during pre-registration advising every semester, but many students seek advice from their advisor on many other topics related to Career Architecture.  For more information on the advising process for our students click here.

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