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Chemistry majors present research at ACS convention

CONWAY, Ark. – Eight Hendrix students presented major collaborative research projects at the American Chemistry Society’s spring national meeting in Chicago, March 25-27.

Traditionally, all senior chemistry majors at Hendrix present research at the convention, although it is not required. Since 1982, when Hendrix first started attending the convention, more than 300 Hendrix students have presented their research.

“It’s very important that they do research and present it. That’s what being a scientist is; that’s what being a chemist is,” said Warfield Teague, professor of chemistry. “The sooner you decide whether it’s your bag or not, the happier you’re going to be in life. Student researchers learn to be better problem solvers and be more independent, but mainly it helps them in determining their career direction.”

The trip also allows students to meet professional chemists and see the American Chemistry Society, “the biggest and probably the best” professional society there is, at work, Teague said. Students had time to listen to other presentations and visit the ACS exposition, where students could network with the more than 300 exhibiting companies.

At the meeting, the Hendrix ACS chapter also received an Honorable Mention award for its work in 2005-06 school year. Chapters are selected for recognition based on an annual report of their activities. Hendrix’s ACS chapter sponsors a free, biweekly lecture series, and student members perform chemistry-related experiments for elementary school classrooms and judge middle and high school science competitions.

The students who presented research this year were seniors Anna Anthony of Greenbrier; Caitlin Bagby of Russellville; Abby Olena of Garland, Texas; Sarah Tauer of Harrison; and Margaret Weddell of Burgettstown, Penn. Also presenting were juniors Joi Chen of Little Rock; Justin Haley of Louisa, Va.; and Stephen Jackson of Paragould.

Research topics included properties of animal urine, Diels-Alder reactions in high temperature water, rocket motor efficiency and the interactions between activated charcoal and proteins.

Hendrix, founded in 1876, is a selective, residential, undergraduate liberal arts college emphasizing experiential learning in a demanding yet supportive environment. Selected this year by the Princeton Review as the nation's No. 4 "best value" college, Hendrix is a member of Project Pericles®, an organization that promotes civic engagement among college students. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884.