frequently asked questions
By Dr. Bill Bordeaux, department chair
1. What kinds of equipment does the University own? Who has access to this equipment?
Let me start by saying that we stress doing chemistry and using existing technologies and instrumentation as part of the core chemistry courses. We believe this is the best way to become proficient and competent with technical and conceptual information. The instrumentation we have in chemistry includes: a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS), nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR), several infrared spectrophotometers (FTIRs), UV-Visible spectrophotometers, a gas chromatograph (GC), high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC), potentiostat for cyclic voltammetry (CV), and fluorimeter. Students use the first four instruments listed above as well as hand-held data collection units within the first two years, then go on to become more adept at using all of the instruments in a year of analytical and instrumental chemistry. A wide variety of instrumentation is available in order to maximize student exposure to different types of instruments which they may encounter in industrial and research labs.
2. What is a typical classroom/lab like in terms of lecture time, experimentation, difficulty of work, and so on?
Our classes are small; freshman chemistry normally averages about 20-30. Some of these students only need one year and in the second year (organic chemistry) we typically have about half the number from the spring before. We have three hours (50 minutes/class) of lecture/week and one 3-hour laboratory. Students earn 3 credits for the lecture portion and 1 credit for the lab portion. The courses must be taken together. The work is challenging, but with good preparation, good study habits and a willingness to seek help when needed, students do well. Persistence pays off. I had one student who came in with an inadequate background and struggled all term but by December was making A's on the exams. That took a lot of effort I know, but it paid off. The investment is large but the benefits are well worth it.
3. How does the University assist students with finding opportunities for internships, jobs, etc.?
All chemistry majors working toward what Huntington calls a BS in chemistry (the pre-professional track) do an undergraduate research project, generally the summer before their senior year. This is usually an excellent experience and can provide a first job although many of our graduates go on to medical or graduate school. We definitely encourage research opportunities and do our best to help students get placed in paid positions. The newly-established Enterprise Resource Center has already assisted one of our students in finding an industrial research project. Over the years we have had many students enjoy the benefits of paid summer research projects of various types, in industries, in medical research facilities, at other universities, and on campus. These positions often help students decide on a job, a medical school, or further graduate study.
4. How big is the Chemistry program?
The program is small in numbers but not in course offerings. We typically graduate two to five chemistry majors a year, a number which allows for small class sizes and student-faculty mentoring opportunities. Compared to our student body at Huntington, the chemistry major percentage is about average for liberal arts colleges. The interests of our current chemistry majors include the health professions, graduate work for research careers, industrial careers, and teaching.
5. What should I do if I am considering coming to Huntington University?
I hope you will consider a trip to Huntington and plan to spend enough time to visit some classes, stay overnight in the dorms and be with the students in more casual settings. What I find is that students who do this can pretty quickly discern whether Huntington is a place for them or not. It sure beats the canned tour (which is not without value but can't get far enough below the surface). I guess I've stopped talking like a professor and started talking like a father who has sent three sons off to college. Wherever you think you will end up, spend enough time on campus (at least one overnight) to get the sense of the place. If you have any other questions or clarifications, drop me a line. I'd also be glad to talk with you on the phone if that would help.
May God bless you and lead you as you search out His place for you next year.