Blinn students present research at world’s largest chemistry conference

Schylar Clark and Viet Ha Pham selected to showcase findings at American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston

Schylar Clark and Viet Ha Pham selected to showcase findings at American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston

October 11, 2018

Two Blinn College District students recently displayed their research findings at the world’s largest chemistry conference.

Schylar Clark (Giddings) and Viet Ha Pham (Vietnam) partnered with Chemistry Professor Dr. Lee Don Bienski to present a research poster at the 255th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition in Boston. The biannual conference attracts approximately 15,000 chemists, chemical engineers, academicians, and graduate and postdoctoral students from around the world.

“It is very rare to have the opportunity to participate in a research project at this level,” Clark said. “I was excited to hear Dr. Bienski offer the opportunity in class, so I jumped at the chance. This experience has provided a solid foundation for when I pursue more advanced courses and research programs at a four-year university.”

The group’s research focused on the stability of buckminsterfullerene – a molecule containing 60 Carbon atoms – added to common cooking oils, such as avocado, olive, and sunflower oil. The students strategically dissolved samples of buckminsterfullerene into the oils to create a solution that was then exposed to heat and light treatments.

The team discovered both heat and light had a significant effect on the stability of the oils, causing the solution to degrade.

Throughout the summer, the team met with Bienski to conduct experiments, gather results, and write reports regarding their findings. Working alongside an expert in the field familiarized the pair with the research process and provided valuable experience that will translate to four-year universities and beyond.

“It is very impressive for this group to dedicate so many hours during the summer break,” Bienski said. “We are fortunate to have such hard-working, motivated students at Blinn and to have the resources to involve them in research this early in their educational careers.”

To earn an invitation to the ACS National Meeting and Exposition, students must conduct months of research before submitting abstracts detailing their findings to be reviewed by industry professionals. With most presentations coming from four-year universities, it is a unique honor for Blinn to be represented.

“The conference featured many research exhibits presented by individuals from around the world,” said Pham. “My favorite part was meeting students from different schools and learning about their research. I was introduced to a wide variety of information that I will be able to apply as I go forward with my education and career.”

Pham has since transferred to Texas A&M University, where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in math. Clark is in his second year at Blinn and hopes to transfer to Texas A&M to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.

Registration currently is available for Blinn’s second 8-week Fall session. Classes will begin Wednesday, Oct. 17. For enrollment or financial aid information, visit www.blinn.edu.

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