Chemistry Major Received Drinko Research Grant

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Westminster College junior chemistry major Nicole George received an undergraduate research grant from Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

George's research, "The Chemistry behind Crayola® Color Wonder™," is conducted under the supervision of Dr. Helen Boylan, associate professor of chemistry.  Also involved in the project is sophomore chemistry major Julie Rice.

Crayola® Color Wonder™ paints are initially colorless, displaying their colors only on special Color Wonder™ paper.  The current research is a continuation of earlier work that attempted to separate the color from the coating or the shield that was hiding the color.

"At the very end of my previous research I found that oxalic acid crystals did something to the paints so that the shield was broken through and the colors of the paint would show up in the solution around the oxalic acid crystals," George said.  "This year I am looking into compounds similar to oxalic acid called dicarboxylic acids.  I want to determine if there is some property of the paints or the shield that reacts specifically with certain dicarboxylic acids."

According to George, no work has been published on this subject.

George is a daughter of Jonathan and Lisa George of Valencia and a graduate of Mars Area High School.

Rice is a daughter of Paul and Diane Rice of Poland, Ohio, and a graduate of Poland Seminary High School.

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

The Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences.  Visit for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.

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.

Drinko Center Information