Some Facts About Research in the Department of Chemistry
All faculty members (10) and the administrative staff (3) in the Department of Chemistry have a Ph.D. degree and are actively involved in research activities involving student collaborators, in a variety of areas that span the major chemical subdisciplines.
Nearly all chemistry and biochemistry majors carry out research during their years at Lafayette College, and there is a research requirement for students choosing B.S. majors in chemistry or biochemistry.
Students interested in undergraduate research may do so with guidance from members of the faculty for academic credit. After identifying and discussing options with a faculty mentor, students may register for independent research anytime during their years at Lafayette, and/or for thesis in their senior year. Students selecting to pursue a senior honors thesis must have certain academic qualifications and write and defend a thesis describing their research at the end of their senior year.
Each summer, a number of majors carryout full-time research in the department, funded by faculty research grants and/or the College EXCEL Scholars program, which provides a salary and free room accommodations. The EXCEL Scholars program also funds paid research opportunities during the academic year and the January interim session.
Several members of the department have been involved in collaborative research with students and faculty in other departments at Lafayette, including biology and engineering.
Many of our faculty/student collaborations culminate in co-authored publications in peer-reviewed chemical periodicals and/or presentations at national conferences. Students working on research projects directed by all faculty members in the Department of Chemistry have made substantial contributions to research projects, resulting in Lafayette students contributing as co-authors of most of the journal articles published by the Lafayette chemistry faculty.
A published article (Leber, P.A., Williams, B.R., and Yoder, C.H. Journal of Chemical Education (2009) Vol. 86, p. 876-878) documented that for the most recent decade analyzed (1996-2005), the Department of Chemistry at Lafayette was ranked first among 55 predominantly undergraduate institutions for the average total number of publications per faculty member, and second for the total number of publications.
In recent years, several members of faculty in the Department of Chemistry have been funded by competitive research grants from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, the Henry and Camille Dreyfus Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation to support their work with students and acquire instrumentation. College-supported funding is available to all faculty to support the acquisition of research supplies and to fund students to work for salary under the College EXCEL Scholars program.
Each faculty member supervises an approximately 600-square-foot research laboratory dedicated to collaborative faculty/student research activities. Additional instrumentation is located in numerous instrument rooms and computational facilities that are available for both teaching and research activities.
The department maintains up-to-date instrumentation and is well stocked with the chemical supplies and reagents necessary to support our teaching and research. We are supported by the services of an instrumentation specialist and an instrumentation technician to ensure that all instrumentation and equipment are well-maintained and optimally operational. In addition, a stockroom technician coordinates the acquisition, storage, and disposal of chemicals and supplies.
Students completing research experiences at Lafayette are especially competitive in obtaining entrance into graduate-degree programs and in gaining employment in the chemical industry upon graduation.