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Profiles

Leslie Sherman

W. Alton Jones Associate Professor of Chemistry

Education

  • B.A. Carleton College, 1985
  • M.S.C.E. University of Minnesota 1988
  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1997

Teaching

My own experience as a college student at a small liberal arts college like Washington College, inspired me to become a teacher at a small school. My first teaching experience was actually as a Peace Corp Volunteer in West Africa, where I taught Chemistry and Physics. Currently, I have a dual appointment in Chemistry and Environmental Studies here at Washington College. In addition to teaching General Chemistry and Honors General Chemistry, I have developed several new courses for the Chemistry and Environmental Studies program, given my expertise in the air, water and soil chemistry of natural and polluted environments. I have given brief summaries below of two of my classes:

Global Warming and our Environment - Course description

Is our climate changing? Are human activities the cause? What will be the impacts around the world? How can we mitigate climate change on a global scale? In this GRW class we study the issue of global climate change, often referred to as “global warming”. We begin by studying the polar regions of our planet. As part of this, we learn how air pollution can affect our planet’s temperature and then examine the strength of the evidence that suggests that humans are currently warming our planet. We then turn towards the future and look at what scientists globally are predicting about climate change. Will the polar ice caps and glaciers melt? Will tropical islands be flooded? Will diseases spread? What communities will be the most severely impacted, due to their location and their socioeconomic condition? We then explore mitigation options to try to reduce climate change, including renewable energy alternatives and carbon sequestration. Who has been leading the way in government activities around the world to address greenhouse gas emissions? How are we working together to address climate change issues and to move forward with international climate policy? We are clearly in a different era. However, it is not at all clear what are the best avenues to take. We explore multiple possibilities.

Environmental Chemistry - Course description

In Environmental Chemistry we study the reactions controlling the cycling of both natural chemical species and anthropogenic pollutants in the water, soil and air environments of our earth system. The chemical processes operating in the natural environment, including acid-base, complexation, redox, photochemical and biotic degradation phenomena are examined. Throughout the course, the chemistry underlying current issues of water, soil and air pollution are studied. In the laboratory portion of the class, we investigate the water quality of local water bodies, including the Chester River, as well as analyze car exhaust from automobiles.

Here are some of our favorite websites from these classes!

Recent Publications

  • Sherman, L.A. and K.R. Brye. 2009. Sequential Burning Effects on the Soil Chemistry of a Grassland Restoration in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain of the United States. Ecological Restoration. 27:428-438.
  • Ongley, L.K., L. Sherman, A. Armienta, A. Concilio, C. Ferguson Salinas and A. Garcia-Escobar. 2007. Arsenic contamination in the soils and sediments of Zimapan, Mexico. Environmental Pollution. 145: 793-799.
  • Sherman, L.A., K. Brye, D. Gill and K. Koenig. 2005. Soil chemistry as affected by first-time prescribed burning of a grassland restoration on a Coastal Plain Ultisol. Soil Science. 170:913-927.
  • Ongley, L.K., A. Armienta, L. Sherman and A. Concilio. 2005. Arsenic and metal contamination in unconsolidated materials, Zimapén, Mexico. Proceedings of the XIII International Conference on Heavy Metals in the Environment, Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

Recent Presentations

  • Sherman, L. and K.R. Byre. 2008. Soil pH, organic matter and cation changes after four prescribed burns of a grassland restoration on the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. Soil Science Society of American Annual Meeting, Houston, TX, October 2008. In Agronomy Abstracts (CD-ROM). ASA, Madison, WI.
  • Sherman, L. and K.R. Byre. Sequential burning effects on the soil chemistry of a grassland restoration on the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. Soil Science Society of American Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, November 2007. In Agronomy Abstracts (CD-ROM). ASA, Madison, WI.
  • Sherman, L. and K.R. Byre. Soil pH and nutrient changes after prescribed burning of a grassland restoration on the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. 233rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Chicago, IL, March 2007.
  • Ongley, L.K., L. Sherman, A. Armienta, A. Concilio, C. Ferguson Salinas and A. Garcia-Escobar. 2007. Arsenic contamination in the soils and sediments of Zimapan, Mexico. Environ. Poll. 145 (3) 793-799.
  • Sherman, L. and K. R. Brye. 2005. Soil Chemistry as Affected by First-Time Prescribed Burning on a Coastal Plain Ultisol. Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT. Nov. 6-10, 2005. In Agronomy Abstracts (CD-ROM). ASA, Madison, WI.
  • Sherman, L., K.R. Brye, and D. Gill. 2004. The short-term impacts of prescribed burning on the soil chemistry of a grassland restoration on the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. Aug. 8-12, 2004. North American Prairie Conference, Madison, WI.