Tri-College Brings Chemists to Randolph College

By: Isaiah Freedman ’20

For more than the 30 years running, chemistry students from three colleges local colleges – Randolph College, Sweet Briar College, and the University of Lynchburg (formerly Lynchburg College) – have been meeting on annual basis for the Tri-College event. This spring, on April 17, the student chemists will be on the Randolph College campus to present research they’ve conducted for senior projects. The annual meeting, which was already well established in 1987 when Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Chemistry Department Ann Fabirkiewicz, known to students as Dr. Fab, first started teaching at Randolph.

The Tri-College event brings together chemistry majors from the three schools in order to give them an opportunity to discuss their senior projects. A few examples from of student projects in chemistry from prior years include research into the concentration of antioxidants in certain fruits, the tea content in various teas (Oolong vs. herbal, for example), and the protein content of bugs. Also, during the 2018 Tri-College event, which was held at the University of Lynchburg, a student presented a project on the chemistry of how cadavers decay.

Chemistry-rice-450x300
Professor Ann Fabirkiewicz works with a student (Valarie Osei-Akyeampong ’19) testing the nutritional value of rice

The Tri-College event is mandatory for seniors, but chemistry majors who are not yet in their fourth and final year are welcome to join in.

Spring semester is a busy time for the physics department at Randolph as well. While the chemistry department gears up for the Tri-College event, the physics department is busy getting ready for SciFest, which involves local primary and secondary school students who are interested in science and may want to eventual pursue a college degree in a scientific field. A key difference between SciFest and the Tri-College event is that the Tri-College event is not open to the public and the SciFest involves members of the local community.

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