Chemistry Majors Presented Test Results at Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition Meeting

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nine Westminster College chemistry majors presented the results of a service-learning project at a meeting of the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (SRWC) May 12 at the Jennings Environmental Education Center.

The students are from an advanced laboratory class taught by Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster associate professor of chemistry.  They collaborated with the SRWC to test the passive water treatment system for treating abandoned mine drainage at the DeSale Restoration Area Phase I site in Butler County.  Students performed field tests and collected water samples to analyze in the laboratory.

"This collaboration is in its fifth year," Boylan said.  "This is the first time students tested microorganisms in the system.  They found a strong presence of iron- and manganese-oxidizing bacteria in certain stages of the passive treatment system and determined that the recent heavy rains had impacted the system's ability to treat manganese."

Boylan, a Westminster graduate, earned a Ph.D. from Duquesne University and joined the faculty in 2001.

Contact Boylan at (724) 946-6293 or email for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Westminster is a top tier liberal arts college, a national leader in graduation rate performance, and a "Great School, Great Price," according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 38th among liberal arts colleges, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 373 Colleges" and "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

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(L-r) Dr. Helen Boylan, Justin Jones, Robert Wehrle, Merissa Malcolm, Brandon Kennedy, Ashley Blystone, Matthew Perella, Zachary Smith, Ryan Konik, Lori Katrencik


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Ashley Blystone, Brandon Kennedy, Robert Wehrle testing samples at the site