Ouachita students and faculty present at national American Chemical Society meeting

hirteen students and four faculty members from the Ouachita Baptist University Department of Chemistry recently attended the American Chemical Society national meeting in San Diego.

“The ACS is the world’s largest scientific society with over 160,000 members,” said Dr. Marty Perry, OBU’s ACS student chapter sponsor. “The national meetings draw approximately 15,000 participants each year, many of them undergraduate students.”

2012 marks the 15th consecutive year OBU students have attended and presented at the spring national meeting of the ACS. In addition to their research presentations, the students participated in numerous activities designed for undergraduate chemists, including the Chem Demo Exchange, where students from various campus chapters conducted live educational demonstrations for other groups.

“All of our students who conduct research have the opportunity to present their findings to other meeting attendees and attend technical sessions,” Perry said. “Students also have the opportunity to visit with graduate school representatives, promote our chapter’s activities through the Chem Demo Exchange, attend the exhibitor exposition and tour cultural sites in the host city.”

At the Chem Demo Exchange, Ouachita students presented the demonstrations that they completewith children at local elementary schools.

“We did what we call ‘fireworks in a glass,’ which is where we mix water-based food coloring and oil on top of water,” Kasa Cooper told The Signal, OBU’s student newspaper. Cooper is a Paragould, Ark., native and serves as Ouachita’s current ACS chapter president. “The food coloring and the oil go down to the water and look like they are exploding.” She added that they also completed a demonstration they call ‘magic milk’ with food coloring and milk.

Twelve of the Ouachita students attending presented research results from their OBU research experiences. Cooper presented the OBU ACS Student Chapter Poster at the Sci-Mix event. Hollyn McCarty, a junior chemistry major from Texarkana, Ark., attended as the president-elect of the OBU chapter.

The OBU chapter received Commendable recognition at the annual student chapter awards ceremony. Recognition is based on review of the annual report submitted at the end of each academic year. Award levels are Outstanding, Commendable and Honorable Mention. Only select chapters receive formal recognition.

“Only approximately 30 chapters receive Outstanding awards each year,” Perry said. “Our chapter has been recognized every year since 2000.”

OBU faculty members Dr. Tim Hayes, associate professor of chemistry and holder of the E.A. Provine Chair of Chemistry; Dr. Sara Hubbard, assistant professor of chemistry; and Dr. Joe Jeffers, dean of the Patterson School of Natural Sciences and professor chemistry, also made presentations at the meeting. Dr. Marty Perry, OBU’s Nell I. Mondy Professor of Chemistry, attended as councilor of the Central Arkansas Section of the ACS.

In addition to Cooper, students who presented research at the conference were Lauren Carr, a senior biology and professional chemistry major from Lakeland, Tenn.; Abby Dekle, a senior biology major from Sachse, Texas; Max Ford, a senior biology and chemistry major from Arkadelphia, Ark.; Lindsey Hackett, a senior biology major from Texarkana, Texas; Kristyn Howk, a senior chemistry major from Rowlett, Texas; Kendra Lesley, a senior chemistry major from Manila, Ark.; Joseph Levy, a senior chemistry and biology major from Little Rock, Ark.; Valerie Nickel, a junior chemistry and biology major from Richardson, Texas; Stefani Perry, a senior chemistry major from North Little Rock, Ark.; Tanner Simon, a senior chemistry major from Denton, Texas; and Tyler Simon, a senior chemistry major from Denton, Texas.