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Chemistry majors find home at JCU

October 11th, 2007

John Carroll University has graduated more chemistry majors than any other Jesuit college or university in the country.

The trend was set by last year’s class, with 29 chemistry majors receiving their diplomas last May.

Twenty-five chemistry majors will graduate in 2008, while the class of 2009 will bring 30 more.

JCU’s small size did not affect its number of chemistry grads.

“Over the past 10 years, we graduated 4.2 percent of all chemistry bachelors’ degrees in Ohio,” said David Miscotti, chemistry department chair.

Miscotti also pointed out that JCU comprises only slightly more than one percent of all undergraduates in Ohio.

The chemistry department’s success stemmed from a number of potential factors. According to students, teachers played a major role.

“They’re really good at what they do. You can tell they really care about the students,” said Melissa Zwilling, president of the American Chemical Society at JCU.

Zwilling also said that the small student-to-teacher ratio helps.

“It enables you to ask questions. You have a lot of questions when you first see something in Chemistry,” she said.

Ratios and teachers were not all that came into play.

The Dolan Science Center alone was one of the main reasons students chose to pursue their interest in chemistry here.

“Another plus is the facilities we have. The Science Center is pretty new, and our instrument lab is state-of-the-art,” said Zwilling.

Graduates have gone on to study chemistry, medicine, dentistry, law, pharmacy and forensic science. Some went straight into the work force.

The graduates entered a field that is only growing more and more. Jobs opened up especially in service and biotechnology sectors, according to The American Chemical Society.

This growth is due to an increase in Federal research money.

“Federal research dollars for life sciences have been increasing geometrically compared with the physical sciences for more than 30 years,” the report said.

“In five years I can see myself either in a graduate program or I’d really like to work with NASA. I could maybe work on rocket fuel synthesis,” Zwilling said.

Although students know that chemistry is a difficult major, they are sticking with it. They have their reasons.

“I am a chemistry major because I feel like there are a lot of different routes you can take with it. It seems tangible with how you can help the world. The results of your research can make the world a better place,” said Zwilling.