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Chemistry department hosts “Stimulating Chemistry” event

Barnard’s chemistry facilities are looking better than ever. In recent years, parts of the department’s spaces in Altschul Hall have undergone renovations and upgrades to provide faculty and students with state-of-the-art facilities for research and teaching. On Friday, September 21, to celebrate the renovation of Altschul’s sixth floor, the department will host "Stimulating Chemistry," an event for the campus community showcasing these exciting improvements.
 
A symposium featuring short talks by alumnae of Barnard’s chemistry department will begin the event at 3 p.m. in 202 Altschul. The graduates, most of whom attended Barnard within the last decade, will include high school science teachers, lawyers, pharmaceutical researchers, and graduate students in chemistry. Also participating: The New York Academy of Science’s vice president of development and a former technician for the New York Police Department’s crime lab. Dr. Marian Meyers ’59 and Professor Susan Schwartz-Giblin ’59, two distinguished scientists and department graduates, assembled this panel to highlight the diverse professional paths of Barnard’s chemistry majors.
 
The audience will also hear from Matthew Platz, director of the chemistry division of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which provided a $1.84 million grant for the sixth floor renovation. Thanks to this funding, along with more than $1.1 million in funding that Barnard sought and received from additional sources, Altschul’s sixth floor now includes laboratory and office space for four chemistry faculty and their student workers, as well as a dedicated room for equipment and instruments and a computer room. There is also a new teaching lab for biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, and physical chemistry, along with new infrared, fluorescence, and ultraviolet-visible spectrometers. Fundraising is ongoing for additional renovation needs, such as the general chemistry-teaching lab on the eighth floor.
 
“These renovations are transformative for the department,” said Prof. Christian Rojas. “It gives us room to accommodate more faculty research and more opportunities for student participation.”
 
Some of Barnard’s current students in chemistry and biochemistry will present their research at the event, including Camille Simoneau ’14, who worked in Prof. Mary Sever’s lab over the summer. “This summer I was researching the effect that heavy metal ions have on the expression levels of the CD47 gene implicated in multiple sclerosis,” said Simoneau, noting that the layout and caliber of the laboratory facilities allow for interaction among lab groups as well as the space for an individual to focus.
 
Following their presentations, Simoneau and other students will lead tours of the renovated facilities. The event will conclude with a reception. For further details, visit the "Stimulating Chemistry" event listing.