Next year, incoming freshman majoring in any science degree can expect to have a new, updated lab, located in the Science Building. This room will serve 100 level chemistry courses, with an estimated 500 students per year, and will take place in a room that’s no longer filled with outdated equipment.
According to Caryn Prudenté, professor and chair of the chemistry department, explained that the current chemistry lab, which resides in Payson Smith, was built sometime in the 1950’s – Charcoal square tables sit cluttered in the small room, old equipment scattered and out-of-date. Prudenté made it clear that the current lab in Payson Smith is not appropriate and applicable to real-world research.
“This lab was built on the idea of providing more space for modern, sophisticated equipment. The lab in Payson Smith looks nothing like a modern chemistry labs should,” she said. “Students look at this and it doesn’t bare any resemblance with what they might see in the workforce or in graduate school. It will be much more modern and a more enhanced experience.”
She further explained that the lab was constructed with the idea to collaborate work amongst students in mind. Most work in entry level chemistry, she states, is project based. This will allow local high school students to also take advantage of the new labs, which are set to be used for classes taking place this summer.
“It’s nice to have this new lab in the Science Building, instead of across campus. I have sophomores and Juniors who have never been to the science building!” she exclaimed. “Getting them in here, interacting with upper level students and seeing this building helps develop a sense of community. It gives students a sense of where they belong.”
In the chemistry department, there are three teaching labs: The organic lab, biochemistry lab and an analytical chemistry lab. According to Prudenté, each lab has a specific function that needs its own dedicated space, which explains why a new chemistry 101 lab, located in the same building as the other classes, was a decision that made sense in order to accommodate the rising interest in chemistry studies.