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About Chemistry at Keuka College

Try your hand at forensic analysis with CSI-like lab challenges. Examine the intricacy of how molecules vibrate. Measure the oxygen in Keuka Lake. Analyze the chemical components of wine. It’s all possible at Keuka College. 

The chemistry minor grounds students in the fundamentals of modern chemistry and provides exposure to cutting-edge research and contemporary instrumentation in the field. You can glean an understanding of the particulars and particles inside various matter—and why it all matters.  

Chemistry Program Highlights

State-of-the-Art Lab Equipment

The College has four new Perkin-Elmer instruments usually only found at large universities, and they’re all available for undergraduate student research.

Real-World Science

Your Field Period™ experiences give you the chance to work with professional scientists and researchers and explore different career paths while you're still in school.

Focus on Careers

A chemistry minor gives you a tremendous advantage for graduate study in the sciences, pharmacy, medicine, and more.

Explore Chemistry

Program Overview

Curious about what makes up the world around us and why things are the way they are? As a chemistry minor, you’ll study matter using math, theory, and experiments. You’ll look at what matter is made of and how it behaves, right down to the atomic level.

Keuka College’s chemistry minor allows you to investigate your interests alongside our world-class faculty. It’s especially useful if you’re planning on a career in medicine, health care, biological sciences, environmental sciences, business, law, or secondary education.

Program Requirements

Digital Learning

Computational thinking (learning to think in logical, systematic ways… similar to how a computer does), data analysis, and high-end software go hand-in-hand with the study of chemistry. As a chemistry student, you’ll have the opportunity to gather real-life data from experiments, use digital tools to conduct a variety of scientific analyses, and use software to visualize and analyze the information. 

But you won’t just learn to use the digital tools and software found in today’s modern chemistry labs. You’ll learn to understand how these tools and software packages work. That means you will learn to create, not just replicate.

Global Education

Like all Keuka College students, chemistry minors get to take part in a Field Period™ experience every year. From downtown Penn Yan to Australia, students have completed internships and research projects at locations worldwide, providing them with the real-life experience that gives Keuka College students an edge entering the job market or graduate school.

Research

As an undergraduate student, you’ll have unparalleled opportunities to conduct hands-on research. You’ll also have direct access to equipment that’s usually only available to graduate students at large research universities. Students have conducted research projects in Kenya, studied in cancer labs, and much more. Our natural science students often present their work at regional and national scientific meetings, and some have even partnered with faculty to publish scientific papers.

Facilities

As a chemistry student, you’ll have full access to the Jephson Science Center’s state-of-the-art chemical analysis lab, which features four different Perkin-Elmer machines typically found at large research universities.

The Jephson Science Center is one of the College’s most recently-renovated buildings. A highlight of the center is that the laboratories weren’t simply designed by architects, but by the professors who use and teach in them. That means the labs you’ll use at Keuka College mimic real-world laboratories, and include much of the same equipment.

Research in chemistry often involves determining the chemical components of a solution and finding how much is there. The equipment in our laboratory includes:

High-Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC)

The HPLC is used to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture. It carries liquids from glass bottles through thin plastic tubes, passing through several compartments containing an oven, vacuum pump, solution tray, and detectors for analysis.

Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS)

The GC/MS separates mixtures into individual components and identifies separate fragments so you can determine what the molecules are. The GC/MS features a rotating unit that can extract samples from a tray of up to 108 small vials at one time, conducting analysis as programmed by a small touch screen at the side. 

Connected to the CG/MS is a computer running high-performance software that converts the data readings of molecular ions into a bevy of colorful charts and graphs. Based on the peaks and plunges of a fragment’s chart, the computer searches a large digital library to find the closest match–all in a matter of seconds.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)

The FTIR contains an oval plate with a small diamond reflective element through which infrared light can pass. Connected to another computer running high-speed software, the FTIR is able to provide information about the identity of liquid or solid compounds.

Lambda-35 Ultraviolet Spectrometer

The UV spectrometer uses visible and ultraviolet light to determine the absorption spectrum of a solution, which will show how much light it absorbs across a range of wavelengths.  This information is then used to determine the concentration of particular chemical components.
 

Extracurriculars

Chi Beta Phi, the natural science, math, and psychology honor society offers students the opportunity to network with like-minded peers and have their scholarly accomplishments recognized. 

Chemistry students have also enhanced their education by participating in a number of projects throughout the campus and the community, including:

  • “The Art of Chemistry,” an independent study with a chemistry professor to photograph experiments and paint a periodic table of elements (they even created the paints from the elements themselves). This drew the attention of Chemical & Engineering News in Washington, D.C., which published a story on the exhibit.
  • “Elements of the Finger Lakes,” a collaboration between a chemistry professor and alumnus, exploring the variety of natural elements from the Periodic Table found in and around our area. The resulting images—with each name, two-letter scientific abbreviation, and a brief description of its characteristics and uses —were displayed in many storefront windows along Main Street in Penn Yan.
  • Work-Study Jobs and On-Campus Field Period™ Experiences: Many chemistry students find incredible opportunities on campus. Students have helped to create step-by-step instruction manuals for the latest lab technology and test new equipment.

You’ll also find plenty of opportunities to experiment and discover as a member of clubs and organizations, including Chemistry Club. 

Award Opportunities

Freshman Chemistry Award

The CRC Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award is given to a top student in the freshman chemistry program.

Strasenburgh Award

This award is presented to a junior for outstanding work in chemistry.

ACS Senior Chemistry Award

Awarded to a senior student for outstanding work in chemistry.

Discover the Natural Sciences & Math

See what students & faculty in similar programs are up to.

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