Chemistry Dept. Wins Support For Honors Laboratory

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

In its first year of operation, the Chemistry Department's undergraduate honors program has won an important vote of confidence from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, which has awarded the department a $17,500 grant to help equip a laboratory for honors students.

"The outside world pays a lot of attention to any educational or conceptual development in the sciences and the Dreyfus Foundation obviously sees this new program as important," said Prof. Amir Hoveyda (Chemistry), who wrote the grant proposal with Adj. Assoc. Prof. Robert Umans (Chemistry) and Chemistry Laboratories Director Lynne Ann O'Connell.

"It has long been very important to us as a department to aggressively pursue research funding. But, as this grant demonstrates, we pursue educational funding equally aggressively," Hoveyda added.

The honors program in Chemistry began in the fall under Hoveyda's direction. Approximately 50 freshmen were invited to participate, based on admissions data that showed they excelled in the sciences and had an interest in the field. Hoveyda noted that the four-year program is not limited to chemistry majors, or even to science majors.

O'Connell, who directs undergraduate labs, and Umans, the associate director, developed the idea for a laboratory devoted exclusively to students in the undergraduate honors program, Hoveyda said. With the program's emphasis on drawing the students into research, specialized equipment is required, he added, and the Dreyfus grant will help the department obtain some of it.

Though the lab, which is run by Adj. Asst. Prof. Laura Muller (Chemistry) is operational, he said the program has ambitions that call for continuing improvement.

"This is just a first step. We will be pursuing other outside sources of funding," Hoveyda added, noting that he, Umans and O'Connell have a similar grant proposal pending before the National Science Foundation.

Said Chemistry Chairman Prof. Paul Davidovits, "The department is especially pleased and thanks these three colleagues for taking on this task. We are very proud of the recognition the Dreyfus Foundation has given us for this important program."

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