Getting Hands-On Experience


St. Mary's chemistry and biochemistry majors were busy this summer participating in research and medical internships on campus and around the country.  Ashton Engdahl (above) spent her summer developing a green synthesis of functionalized pyrroles on campus with a paid research internship through our campus SMURF program.

Awards Aplenty in New Orleans

A generous contribution from the John J. Leidy Foundation allowed eight St. Mary's students to attend the 245th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans where they presented posters describing their research.  Josh Olexa ('13) explains his poster to a judge, and former American Chemical Society president, in the Speak Simply Contest where students were judged on their ability to explain their research. St. Mary's was well represented, as Josh and Greg Triegger ('13) were both awarded for their posters.


"Constructing a Superior Arsenic Detector"

Robert Reif
Mentor: Dr. Randolph K. Larsen III
St. Mary's College of Maryland, 2005-2006
    Arsenic is a known human carcinogen. Over the past few years arsenic concentrations in groundwater have become a serious environmental concern. For this reason it has become critical to identify methods of measuring trace levels of arsenic that are inexpensive and field deployable. In response to this we have constructed an inexpensive, sensitive, and field deployable instrument that measures trace levels of inorganic arsenic. This instrument uses an intense chemiluminescent reaction between arsine and ozone over a photomultiplier tube (PMT) to correlate the intensity of the light emitted to the concentration of arsenic in the water. The instrument uses a syringe pump to distribute the proper amount of the reagents to a reaction chamber where the sample is first acidified then the As is reduced to arsine using sodium borohydride. The arsine is then pumped along with the ozone to the reaction cell over the PMT. The preliminary trials using this newly constructed instrument indicate an unknown error in the amplifier circuit causing the signal to remain a constant +15 volts which matches the voltage from the power supply. Once remedied the instrument should function properly.