Students Present Chemistry Research at San Diego Expo

By Kellie Dietrich
Features Editor

This article was originally published in Issue 11, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (March 24, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.

Fourteen students traveled to San Diego from March 13- 16 with chemistry professor Dr. Francis Mayville to present their research at the 251st American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition.

In order to be eligible to attend the ACS exposition, students must be doing chemistry research for a three-credit chemistry class. Students attend the conference every spring, but it is always held in a different location, with next year being in San Francisco. In order to afford the trip, students helped run Basket Bingo and held a Yankee Candle fundraiser, where students gained 40 percent of the money they individually made. Additionally, each student received $200 from the chemistry department.

After arriving in San Diego on March 13, the students registered and explore the conference center. The next day, they spent the whole day at the conference presenting their own research and listening to others’ work.

Chemistry and biology double major Allison Myers and chemistry major Erin Sauschuck, both juniors, presented their research project, “Liquid-liquid extraction and analysis of the antioxidant, resveratrol, from various red and white wines.”

Myers (left) and Sauschuck present their in-organic chemistry research at the 251st ACS National Meeting and Exposition in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Allison Myers.
Myers (left) and Sauschuck present their in-organic chemistry research at the 251st ACS National Meeting and Exposition in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Allison Myers.

“It involves quantifying and comparing the amount of resveratrol in different brands of wine,” said Myers. “I chose to do this research because it is centered on organic chemistry, and I enjoy the lab techniques involved in this subject such as distillation and liquid-liquid extraction techniques.”

Myers and Sauschuck experienced some difficulty when diluting samples; however, they successfully discovered how to equally dilute them without using too much of the dilution reagent and their results matched what they originally hypothesized.

At the exposition, research posters were arranged in rows, sorted by subject, including organic chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry and physical chemistry. During the exposition, chemistry professors walked around and approached projects they were interested in hearing more about.

“My favorite memory was presenting at the conference because the people who came up to my research partner and I had some very interesting suggestions pertaining to furthering our research,” Myers said. “As a result of these suggestions, Erin and I have decided to continue research on this topic next year.”

“While presenting, I felt that I had accomplished something really great,” Myers added.

After a full day at the exposition, students had the next day free. They explored the streets near their hotel and visited the San Diego Zoo and Coronado Island, a resort city near San Diego Bay.

Although the ACS exposition was held until March 17, DeSales students headed home the day before. In just a few short days, those who participated gained a lot of valuable knowledge about chemistry research.

“I learned that there is so much research that can be done in an extremely large amount of chemistry-related fields,” said Myers. “I also learned that there are people who are interested in learning about my research, and how there is a support system of chemists all around the world who are willing to help others with their research.”

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