Distinctive Features

The Roanoke College Chemistry Department is an "Approved Program" of the American Chemical Society

What makes our department distinctive/unusual/special?

Deciding whether a college or department has the right atmosphere for a particular student to grow and learn is an important effort. Getting to know any group involves learning the special characteristics of that group. An academic department at a college or university is no different in that regard. In this section of our web site, we will try to identify what makes us different. In addition to highlighting the special features and experiences that we offer, this section will help you see our self image, what we see as our most important efforts. We hope that will provide you with a deeper understanding of our department.

List of special departmental features:

The ACS Committee on Professional Training (CPT) reviews chemistry department programs across the country. Those departments meeting the high quality standards of the American Chemical Society are designated as "approved programs." The Roanoke College Chemistry Department is proud to have that designation. Graduation from an ACS approved department is a mark of distinction for our students. All students who complete our B.S. Chemistry degree meet the American Chemical Society standards to be certified graduates. Our department certifies each B.S. Chemistry graduate to the American Chemical Society, and appropriate certificates are issued. Personal attention.

The Chemistry department faculty work closely with all students. In our department you will get individual attention in the classrooms, in the instructional laboratories, in the research laboratories, in our offices, and in countless informal interactions. As we get to know you we continually seek ways to support you and encourage your growth, both professionally and personally. In a challenging discipline such as chemistry, this individual attention makes all the difference.

Extensive research opportunities

Exposure to modern scientific research is an essential part of your undergraduate training. Beginning with short special projects within first year courses, a variety of research experiences are encouraged. Most majors complete one or more independent research project or industrial internship project during their education here. Research projects range from environmental studies to laboratory synthesis projects to computer simulations of reactions. Internships vary widely, with recent projects including work in the cosmetics industry, hospital clinical labs, and in a firm manufacturing night vision goggles. Extensive summer research opportunities exist, including a number of paid positions.

Extraordinary access to modern instrumentation

Roanoke students encounter modern instruments from their first semester on. Our department is nationally known for innovative uses of advanced instrumentation in our laboratory courses. That same instrumentation is heavily used in our student/faculty collaborative research projects. Current instrumentation includes laser based fluorescence, 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), UV-Visible spectroscopy, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography / mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and others. Our newest instrument is a combination flame and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometer designed to measure environmental contaminants at ppb levels. Once trained, students operate these instruments independently, greatly enhancing their ability to do research. At other institutions students might "see" an instrument operated by others - at Roanoke the students become power users.

A variety of possible majors

The Chemistry Department at Roanoke College offers three degrees: a BA degree in Chemistry, a BS degree in Chemistry (certified by the American Chemical Society), and a BS degree in Biochemistry. A Minor in Chemistry is also offered.

Flexible course scheduling

Many paths exist for completing a major in chemistry or biochemistry. Several introductory level courses exist, including a special Honors General Chemistry section for well prepared students. Multiple sections of first and second year courses, especially laboratories, provide scheduling flexibility. Upper level courses are small, with coordinated schedules to avoid conflicts among chemistry courses and related math/science courses.

Supportive community of learners

Students and faculty work together in the Chemistry department. Students work together while studying for courses or doing research, and often consult several faculty for assistance with research projects. Faculty work together to support students, to encourage students, and to provide special opportunities for students. A very active program of pre-professional advising is available, for both health professions and the chemical profession. Activities include trips to medical schools or nearby chemical firms, regular meetings regarding graduate school and medical school admission requirements, and individual advising. Within the chemistry department a full schedule of internal and external seminar speakers is provided, and a number of social outings are planned each year. We are a family that works hard together and celebrates our successes together.

Huddle receives top award from local chapter of American Chemical Society

Huddle receives top award from local chapter of American Chemical Society

Dr. Ben Huddle, who retired in 2012 after 44 years as a chemistry professor at Roanoke, received the Gene Wise Award from the Society's Virginia Blue Ridge section on Nov. 19.

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