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Westminster STEM students, faculty participate in virtual Pittcon

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Posted on Friday, April 9, 2021

Several students and faculty members attended the virtual Pittcon 2021, a leading analytical chemistry conference and exposition, from March 8-12.

Featuring a transnational collection of chemists from the academic, private, and government sectors, attendees were invited to present their research through oral sessions and poster presentations. Networking sessions, as well as virtual exhibitor booths, were available for participants.

Senior environmental science majors Blaine Sorrick, Hiram, Ohio, and Erin Ward, Euclid, Ohio, presented their poster “An Interdisciplinary Study Involving Chemical Analysis to Assess Economic Value of AMD Sludge” along with Dr. Helen Boylan, professor of chemistry and director of the Center for the Environment.

“We had opportunities to sit in on some sessions with ties to analytical chemistry and meet more professionals around the country. I’m glad Westminster participates in such a great conference, allowing undergraduates to network, learn and gain presentation experience,” said Sorrick.

Senior chemistry major Kelsey Kraft of Warren, Pa., presented her research “Analysis of Cannabinoids in Over-the-Counter Hemp Products Using Reverse-phase Liquid Chromatography and Commercially Available Presumptive Tests” with Boylan.

“Pittcon was virtual sadly, but we made it work. There was a networking talk where people asked many questions and treated me as an expert because of my research. It was amazing to be able to see myself fit in a scientific community outside of Westminster,” Kelsey said.

Senior biochemistry major and honors student Alexes Koslosky of Dunbar, Pa., collaborated with Dr. Erin Wilson, associate professor of chemistry, to develop her research “Combining Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surfaces and Quorum Sensing Inhibition to Reduce Biofilm Formation of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.”

Dr. Jessica Sarver, assistant professor of chemistry, and recent Westminster graduate Mariah Hoff, lead an oral presentation “Measuring the Antioxidant Level in Beer Using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.”

Boylan also offered an oral presentation of her own research “The Role of Chemical Analysis in an Innovative, Cross-disciplinary Program Involving STEM and Business Majors.”

Pittcon 2021 was the 72nd installment of the annual conference that advances and enriches scientific endeavor by connecting scientists worldwide, facilitating the exchange of research and ideas, showcasing the latest in laboratory innovation and funding science education and outreach. This year featured more than 1,350 presentations on a range of topics.