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Faculty Research and Fellowships

Our faculty have vibrant research programs that span the sub-disciplines of chemistry. Students majoring in Chemistry are integrally involved in the scholarship of the Department’s faculty during summer research and the Senior Capstone Experience.

Faculty Research

The Chemistry Department faculty run vibrant research programs that encompass all of the sub-disciplines of chemistry. Undergraduate students are an integral part of each faculty member's research program. Student-faculty research occurs both during the academic year in the Senior Capstone Experience and during the summer. 

Biophysics and Biochemistry

Environmental Chemistry

ShermanDr. Leslie Sherman is an environmental chemist whose primary research focus is the impact of land use on water quality and soil health. For over 15 years, she has been investigating soil chemical changes at a long-term grassland restoration site developed on low-production agricultural land at the College’s River and Field Campus. The primary management practice is prescribed burning every 2 to 3 years. She is monitoring soil organic matter, pH, extractable metals, and cation exchange capacity, all indicators of soil health. Dr. Sherman is also studying phosphorus cycling in nearby Urieville Lake, which suffers from extreme summer algal blooms. Her primary focus is the sediments of the lake, which can bind phosphorus released into the lake from farm runoff, but which can release the phosphorus back into the lake under changing redox conditions and in response to physical disturbance. 

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Inorganic Chemistry, Green Chemistry, and Materials Science

MarteelDr. Marteel-Parrish’s research is focused on making green chemistry an essential component of chemical education. Research projects are based on curricular innovations such as:

  • Using green chemistry as the driving force to investigate the periodic table and to infuse art in the chemistry curriculum,
  • Addressing 21st century challenges including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and contemporary moral issues in the world, and
  • Involving students in a service learning component by designing green chemistry based experiments adapted to the high school science curriculum.

The overall goal is to use green chemistry to build a web of interconnectedness within curricular and extra-curricular activities offered at Washington College so that students portray themselves as benefactors to the society.

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Organic and Medicinal Chemistry

Physical and Computational Chemistry

ArradondoIn the Arradondo Lab, we investigate non-covalent interactions with computational modeling.  The proper modeling of these interactions is important because they contribute to many areas, including atmospheric chemistry, solvation effects, and material science.  Quantum chemical modeling is a powerful tool that can be utilized to predict complexation, thermochemistry, spectra, and other properties of various molecular systems. One application of interest that our lab seeks to purse is using computational chemistry to assist in the application of different green chemistry principles within popular chemical processes.   We are also interested in collaborations with all other scientists in order to assist with molecular level insight into their research.

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Research Fellowships

Washington College students majoring in chemistry are eligible for the following research fellowships:

Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows

The Douglass Cater Society of Junior fellows rewards creativity, initiative and intellectual curiosity with generous grants to support self-directed undergraduate research and scholarship anywhere in the world. Students interested in the program should click here to learn more.

John S. Toll Science and Mathematics Fellows Program

The John S. Toll Fellowship Program funds student-faculty collaborative research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science. In addition to research opportunities, seminars and field drips during the academic year, students in the Toll Fellows program may have the opportunity to participate in a 10-week summer research experience guided by a Washington College faculty member. Students participating in the summer research program receive a generous stipend, housing allowance, and research supply budget.