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WSC Receives $200,000 Green Chemistry Grant

August 18, 2008
By: WSU News

The Stoddard Charitable Trust has recently awarded Worcester State College a three-year, $200,000 grant that will fund equipment purchases for the college’s new green chemistry program. The influx of machinery such as a rapid-scanning, stop-flow spectrophotometer, a circular dichroism instrument, and an analytical ultracentrifuge system will give a tremendous boost to this emerging program.

“We deeply appreciate The Stoddard Charitable Trust’s support of our green chemistry program. Building this program ensures that Worcester State College stays at the forefront of training aspiring scientists and environmentally friendly scientific study,” said Dr. Janelle C. Ashley.

Started by Fulbright Scholar, 2008 George I. Alden Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, and Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Margaret Kerr, WSC’s green chemistry program emphasizes the use of alternative, non-toxic chemical processes through state-of-the art equipment and laboratories and hands-on undergraduate research. It opens up new possibilities to chemistry majors as well as those in our nursing, health, and biotechnology programs.

WSC’s green chemistry program was introduced to The Stoddard Charitable Trust Chairman Warner S. Fletcher last March. “As the Worcester focus of many of the area’s large manufacturing corporations has been lost, it is more important that our community take advantage of new opportunities as they become available,” Fletcher said. “Certainly now the  higher education institutions of Central Massachusetts appear to offer a stable and more predictable foundation for new economic growth opportunities than ever before. Worcester State students can be key components in this growth because they come from this area and tend to stay here after graduation, as well.”

When WSC adopted a green chemistry curriculum for its organic laboratory sequences four years ago, it was the first college in the area to do so. By eliminating or reducing hazardous solvents in lab experiments, green chemistry students are able to work outside the confines of protective fume hoods and use standard-scale techniques and glassware. This better prepares them for jobs in industrial labs as well as for graduate work because the chemical industry is continually seeking to develop safer, more sustainable products and procedures.

The Stoddard Charitable Trust has previously supported other WSC priorities, including student scholarships.

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