Department News

Stoneburner, '11, Takes Different Chemistry Path to Land Job

Jacob Stoneburner, ’11, had his future planned when he arrived at Albion College as a first-year chemistry student in 2007. His plans didn’t include the graduate school or medical school paths taken by many chemistry majors, however.

A native of Wyandotte, Mich., Stoneburner wanted to complete his degree in four years while still being able to play saxophone in the British Eighth marching band and jazz band. He hoped that his Albion education would lead to a job close to home and allow him to teach saxophone to students at Wyandotte-Roosevelt High School.

The Albion Advantage, which came to life in the work he did in the lab as a summer participant in the College’s Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Experience (FURSCA) in 2010, and the breadth of classes he took from chemistry to philosophy, paved the way to a job in his hometown as a research technician for BASF that allows him to continue his musical hobby.

Chemistry Majors' FURSCA Experience Includes Space Center Visit

Vanessa McCaffrey, Erica Bennett, Casey Waun, and Nicolle Zellner visited the Johnson Space Center this summer.Vanessa McCaffrey, Erica Bennett, Casey Waun, and Nicolle Zellner visited the Johnson Space Center this summer.A number of Albion College students remain on campus every summer to complete scholarly work funded by the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (FURSCA). The summer experiences of chemistry majors Erica Bennett, ’13, and Casey Waun, ’13 were enhanced when they joined professors Vanessa McCaffrey and Nicolle Zellner on a trip to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where they conducted experiments to investigate the role of impacts on simple organic molecules.

The research, funded by grants from NASA’s Astrobiology Institute and the American Astronomical Society, is to examine how organic molecules change in impact events. The Albion delegation and Johnson technicians worked together to use the center’s hypervelocity impact technology to “shock” a sample of sugars by firing a projectile at a metal target holding the sample. The pressure from the impact of a projectile hitting the target’s steel plug has the ability to change the sugar placed inside the target, which the scientists hope will provide insight to the origin of life.

Finding Genes to Fight Cancer: Kimmy Leverenz's Summer Internship

Kimmy Leverenz, '12Almost every day, I look at my watch, feeling like I have been there for a few hours, and all of a sudden it is 5 o'clock. I also really like the idea that the work I am doing could potentially help a great deal of people, one reason I want to go into medicine.

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