Chemical & Physical Sciences Department

CHEMICAL & PHYSICAL SCIENCES DEPARTMENT

 

STUDENT PRESENTERS

Organized By Presentation Subject Material

CURCA.png

SALTANAT ALDABAYEVA '21

MAJOR: CHEMISTRY 

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR KARSTEN THEIS, CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

Is it possible to determine accurate fluoride concentration in water samples using standard concentration?

Water fluoridation is an essential source that can help many communities to sustain a healthier lifestyle and save money both for families and for the US healthcare system. Drinking fluoridated water reduces the chance of developing dental caries, cavities and provides rigidity for our teeth. It is the most efficient and cost effective way to deliver fluoride to communities regardless of their demographics, social statues, age group etc… One of the main issues with water fluoridation is that not every community will receive fluoridated water. This raises the issue because lack of fluoridated water in communities can lead to many disparities (CDC 2020). Water samples were tested for different regions in the USA, primarily it was tested in the Arizona and New Mexico regions. It is said that children were less likely to have dental caries if they received fluoridated water, had mouthwash in their homes and their parents had education on fluoride. Children that come from low-income Latino families are put at disadvantage due to the fact that they live in areas that do not receive fluoridated water. The results showed that this particular area of the country does not receive the adequate amount of fluoride in their water. Following, it was concluded that fluoride is much more likely to be detected in tap water than any other source of water in this region of the country in order to sustain good oral health (Victory et al., 2017).

NICHOLAS FAILLACE '22

MAJOR: CHEMISTRY

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR RODERICO ACEVEDO, CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

CURCA Logo.png

JULIA HONG '21

MAJOR: BIOLOGY

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR RODERICO ACEVEDO, CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

CURCA Logo.png

Dr. Roderico Acevedo - Course Project

Using Molecular Visualization Software, Pymol

to Understand Metabolic Enzymes

Biochemistry can be a fairly abstract course. Cells are not something that we can inspect visually, making it difficult to grasp key concepts. If cells are small, the thousands of 3-D molecular machines called enzymes (blue-ish blobs), which carry out the chemical reactions are even smaller. Here, students from Biochemistry II used Pymol, a molecular visualization software, that allow for enzymes to be rendered in 3-D. Pymol allows for a truly interactive way to visualize biomolecules and study their function. Each student will showcase one of enzymes shown below, along with their corresponding reactions. These short, student led videos demonstrate how the 3-D structure of enzymes are exquisitely suited to take-up the molecules and position them in the right place for the appropriate chemistry to take place.

CURCA.png

ABBIGAYLE MCINTOSH '21

MAJOR: CHEMISTY

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR RODERICO ACEVEDO, CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

VANESSA SANCHES '21

MAJOR: BIOLOGY

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR RODERICO ACEVEDO, CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

Vanessa Sanches Photo.jpeg

COURTNEY SWAIN '21

MAJOR: BIOLOGY

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR RODERICO ACEVEDO, CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

CURCA Logo.png
CURCA.png

MARISSA JACKSON '21

MAJOR: GENERAL SCIENCE

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR TARIN WEISS, CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

How have students remote learning experiences during COVID-19 positively and negatively impacted their learning?

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, courses at Westfield State University in the Spring (second half) and Fall 2020 semesters were predominately taught remotely. Both undergraduates and instructors scrambled to adjust to synchronous, asynchronous remote and hybrid teaching and learning. Through surveys (n=130) and interviews (n= 9) this small pilot study seeks to begin to answer the following: In what ways have students' remote course experiences during COVID 19 positively and negatively impacted their learning? Questions focused on general demographics, living locations, and comparisons between face-to-face and remote learning related to distractions, overall learning experiences, and interactions with instructors. Data was analyzed to report general trends. The majority of students reported that they were comfortable completing schoolwork remotely and their technology worked well. In addition, instructors cared about their ability to learn and were understanding about technology problems, took time to communicate effectively and ensure that they received feedback in a timely manner. More first year students reported being satisfied with their learning experiences despite the change to online learning and felt their experiences were effective. However, most students reported issues with distractions in their various living situations, had a lack of desire to participate in class, and struggled to pay attention during classes. Students also had a challenging time with getting to know their instructors and felt they did not retain as much information in the Zoom classroom. The study also makes recommendations for the University’s response to future similar crises.

CURCA.png

ELLEN LAMBERT '21

MAJOR: CHEMISTY

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR ASHLEY EVANOSKI-COLE, CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

Analysis of NO2 Air Pollution in Urban Versus Rural Locations

Outdoor air concentration of NO2, a critical air pollutant, is regularly monitored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for human health and the environment. High concentrations of NO2, produced through the burning of fuel, can be harmful to the human respiratory system as well as the environment, being a cause of acid rain and visible haze. To find out if there is a difference in NO2 air pollution concentrations in urban versus rural areas, NO2 air samples were collected and analyzed in several areas of Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut. With the use of Radiello Passive Samplers, air samples were collected over a four-week time span between the months of February and March of 2021. Through analysis of the collected air samples and weather data, a better understanding of NO2 air pollution based on location was achieved.