Monmouth / About the College / News / Full Story

MC chemistry students take field trip to University of Iowa

Earlier this month, Monmouth College chemistry professors Audra Sostarecz and Eric Todd took 11 students to the University of Iowa to visit its chemistry department and the Central Microscopy Research Facility at the medical school.

“Six of the students who attended are currently enrolled in Advanced Analytical Chemistry, an instrumental analysis class,” said Sostarecz. “The opportunity for these students to see the instrumentation that they learn about in class is extremely useful to their comprehension of the techniques.”

The students were also able to meet chemistry graduate school faculty and see first-hand the experiments that the graduate students are performing.

“As the chemistry professor that teaches the instrumental course at Monmouth, I was really impressed with our students’ knowledge of analytical instrumentation concepts when talking with the faculty at the University of Iowa,” said Sostarecz. “I was equally excited by the student’s attitudes when they returned from the trip. I feel like there is a new type of excitement from the students with regard to the material they are now learning at Monmouth College and how it applies to their future careers.”

“The tour of the University of Iowa was both informative and encouraging,” said senior Jenna Bean of Bloomington. “The professors and graduate students gave clear explanations of the research they were doing and the functions of the instruments they were using. I was encouraged by the fact that I knew and understood the work and the types of instruments at the graduate-school level.”

While 11 Monmouth students made the visit, Sostarecz reported another six chemistry or biochemistry graduates from MC are enrolled in Ph.D. programs at Iowa: Lindsay Ditzler ’07, Nathaniel Coleman ’08, Matt Faron ’08, Om Kumar Shrestha ’10, Angie Morris ’11 and Holly Morris ’11.

“All of them are in the chemistry graduate program except for Matt Faron, who is in the genetics graduate program, and Om Kumar Shrestha, who is in the biochemistry graduate program,” said Sostarecz. “In addition, Kevin Watson ’07 recently earned his master’s degree in chemistry at Iowa and is currently working at Abbott Laboratories.”

While the current Monmouth students were at Iowa, they met with Ditzler and Holly Morris and learned how their Monmouth College education prepared them for graduate school. Ditzler will defend her Ph.D. thesis next summer.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the University of Iowa,” said senior Kyle Vancil of Bloomington. “It was truly an eye-opening experience to see the level of research conducted by graduate students. It was also reassuring to see how well-prepared chemistry students at Monmouth College are due to our opportunities to conduct research.”

“Going to the University of Iowa is always a lot of fun,” concluded Todd. “It provides a great opportunity to reconnect with alumni and introduce current students to advanced study in chemistry. It also provides a chance to interact with the university’s faculty and is helping to develop several collaborations.”