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Senior Capstone

All senior students at Washington College must complete a Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) to graduate. Chemistry majors fulfill the SCE by conducting a year-long research project in collaboration with a chemistry faculty member, which culminates with a thesis and scientific poster presentation.

What is the SCE?

All senior chemistry majors work in collaboration to complete a year-long laboratory or literature-based project. Students who elect to complete a laboratory-based SCE will undertake projects that involve synthetic and preparative procedures and include the use of the department’s research-grade Inert-Atmosphere Glove Box, UV-VIS, FTIR, AA, NMR, GC, HPLC, LC-MS, GC-MS, ICP-MS, electrochemical analyzer, and polarimeter.

Students pursuing the ACS-certified degree in Chemistry must perform a laboratory-based research project for their SCE to meet the number of laboratory hours required by the ACS. This requirement could be waived if ACS-certified majors have already performed research for credit during the academic year or during the summer.

Seniors present the results of their project in a poster session that is open to the College community. The department has a set of Senior Capstone Experience Guidelines that are distributed to both junior and senior chemistry majors each fall. For those students meeting the College-wide standards of eligibility for departmental honors at graduation, the capstone experience also forms the basis of an oral examination given at the end of the student’s final semester.

Students must enroll in CHE SCE in their final semester to obtain credit for the Senior Capstone Experience. The Senior Capstone Experience is graded according to the Washington College grading system, which involves the use of letter grades (A-F) that may be modified by a minus or a plus.

Recent SCE Projects

Erin Asman (adviser: Prof. James Lipchock)

“Review of Osteoarthritis in Equines and the Treatments Available” (literature review)

Felicia Attor (adviser: Prof. Anna Smith)

“Synthesis of flavonoids for anti-aging research” (experimental)

Eleanor Byers (adviser: Prof. Anne Marteel-Parrish)

“Biomimetic Preen Oil from Waste Cooking Oil: A Green Chemistry Laboratory for Secondary Students” (experimental)

Sean Garin (adviser: Prof. James Lipchock)

“Examining the Structural Requirements for Dot1 Mediated Senescence” (experimental)

Daniel Gonzalez (adviser: Prof. Aaron Amick)

“Synthesis of a Novel Acenaphthylene Semiconducting Polymer” (experimental)

Alexandra Hegeman (adviser: Prof. Anna Smith)

“The Significance of NUP170 in Delayed Cellular Senescence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae” (experimental)

Autumn Hoffman (adviser: Prof. Aaron Amick)

“Synthesis of 5-bromobenzo[c]phenanthrene, an Intermediate of the Missing Fullerene C72” (experimental)

Corbin Hudson (adviser: Prof. Sarah Arradondo)

“Ionic Liquids: the Designer Solvent” (experimental)

Jessica Melson (adviser: Prof. Anne Marteel-Parrish)

“The Effects of Microplastics on Water and Soil Samples Around the Chester River” (experimental) 

Larisa Okshewsky (adviser: Prof. Anna Smith)

“Treatments and Preventions for Clostridium difficile” (experimental) 

Savannah Ross (adviser: Prof. Aaron Amick)

“The Synthesis of Fullerene Derivatives to Create Potential Drugs to Alleviate Ischemic Stroke” (literature review) 

Alexandra Searles (adviser: Prof. Leslie Sherman)

Comparison of Phosphate Levels in Water Samples of Impaired Creeks off of the Chester River and Evaluation of Surrounding Land” (experimental) 

Melissa Whittington (adviser: Prof. Sarah Arradondo)

Characterizing small water clusters with ab initio Methods and Terahertz Spectroscopy” (experimental)

Tyler Buchanan (adviser: Prof. Rick Locker)

“Identification of Intermediate from Horseradish Peroxidase-Catalyzed Oxidation of o-Phenylenediamine using UV-vis and Fluorescence Spectroscopy” (experimental)

Valerie Fischer (adviser: Prof. James Lipchock)

“A Review of Current Field Analysis Methods for Testing Suspected Cannabinoid Use in Drivers” (literature review)

Dominic Giandonato (adviser: Prof. Aaron Amick)

“The Mechanistic Study Into a Base Induced Inhibition of Rings Closures within Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons” (experimental)

Edgardo Hernandez (adviser: Prof. Rick Locker)

“Determining Compound pH using a Smart Phone” (experimental)

Parakram Karki (adviser: Prof. James Lipchock)

“Mechanistic study of protein histidine phosphatase 1 and the effects of the elongation of the C-terminus on protein function and dynamics” (experimental)

Beatrice Keller (adviser: Prof. Anne Marteel-Parrish)

“A Cross-disciplinary Study Between Green Chemistry and Public Health: Comparative Analysis of Cooking Fuels and Cooking Methods on Food Composition and its Effect on Health in Rural China” (experimental)

Meredith Kenton (adviser: Prof. Anne Marteel-Parrish)

“Introducing Green Chemistry Principles into an Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry Course” (experimental)

Jessie Nguyen (adviser: Prof. Anna Smith)

“Synthesis of Flavonoids for Anti-aging Research” (experimental)

Collin Vincent (adviser: Prof. Aaron Amick)

“Efficient Synthesis of New Aromatic Structural Scaffolds” (experimental)