WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Dec. 3, 2019 — WLU chemistry majors displayed posters created to reflect research that they completed as part of class Monday in Campbell Hall of Health Sciences.
The topic was Chemical Analysis of Natural Waters and the poster presentation took place from 2:30-3:30 p.m in the atrium on the first floor of Campbell Hall.
Students spent the last semester assessing the water quality of rivers and streams in the Ohio Valley to investigate the potential impact of industries native to the region during this upper level special topics class.
“This class was a student driven research idea that came about as a suggestion for a senior topics class,” explained Dr. Douglas Swartz, associate professor of chemistry and co-chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
“We’re small enough that if students want to suggest an idea, we can respond and create a class that looks at their interest,” he said.
Seven juniors or seniors were in the class and participated in the poster session, Thomas Ledergerber, New Martinsville, W.Va., Bentley Knight, New Martinsville, W.Va., Marisa Tordella, Wheeling, Justin Dancy, Moundsville, W.Va., Hannah Scott, Weirton, W.Va., Nicholas Nestor, Wheeling, Beibyt Yegizbayet, Kazakhstan.
“I became more experienced at analytical methods during this class and I found it very beneficial,” said Ledergerber, who plans to enter graduate school after commencement. He tested water found in Glenn’s Run, located near Warwood.
It is known for its orange colored water that includes mine run-off.
“Some of the chemicals in the water you can see and some you can’t,” he said.
Other natural waters tested include Short Creek and North Fork Short Creek.
“We didn’t have any real surprises in our work but it was nice to see the classroom application of our studies,” said Knight, who plans to go into the workforce after graduating this December.
Knight and Tordella studied a stream near campus and concluded that it was a relatively healthy water source.
Several other of the student researchers plan to go directly into the workforce. Nestor is already accepted into WVU School of Medicine and Scott too is going onto graduate school.
Next semester, the natural waters research will continue into a spin-off topic of research that incorporates treating the water.
Part of the College of Sciences, the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics includes programs in biology, human biology, zoo science, chemistry and mathematics. It also offers a graduate program, the MA/MS in biology and a bridge program with the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Additionally there is a Human Biology/MSPAS 3+2 major that gives qualified applicants a chance to complete the BS in biology and the MS in Physician Assistant Studies degrees in five years versus the traditional six.
For more information, please click westliberty.edu/science-and-mathematics or contact Swartz at 304.336.8890 or via email at [email protected]