Chemistry Students Presented Water Quality Results to Watershed Group

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ten Westminster College chemistry/biochemistry majors presented water quality results at the Nov. 10 meeting of the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (SRWC) at Jennings Environmental Education Center.

The field and laboratory results are part of a service-learning project completed in an "Advanced Laboratory" class taught by Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster associate professor of chemistry.

Water samples were collected from DeSale Phase II, a passive treatment site in Butler County.  The site relies on natural processes - wetlands, settling ponds, and limestone drains - to treat the high acidity and metal concentrations resulting from abandoned coal mining operations.

The students' results confirm the DeSale passive treatment facility is still working well.

"This collaboration between the SRWC and Westminster chemistry students is in its sixth year," Boylan said.  "SRWC members Wil Taylor and Cliff Denholm have been instrumental in facilitating this service-learning project."

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

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, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, 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 376 Colleges" 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 42 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) Stephen Cornich, Danielle Figueroa, Jaimie Daum, Nicole George, Sarah Welsh, Hannah Anderson, Olivia Miller, Gavin Steadman, Mark Biedka


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Collecting samples