Last semester, the CRC Chemistry Club was extremely busy. During the Club Activities Fair, we sold handmade chemistry-themed t-shirts and midterm survival kits in order to raise money for the club. The t-shirts were extremely popular and we were able to raise several hundred dollars for the Chemistry Club! Due to a spirit competition between clubs, a number of club members dressed up as mad scientists and impressed students with their original chemistry rap songs (complete with a few one-of-a-kind dance moves). Although we didn’t win the spirit competition, we generated a lot of campus interest in our club and plan to win the competition this semester! At the next Club Activities Fair, we hope to continue our mad scientist theme and to set up a station where students can make their very own colored slime.
Over the course of the semester, we were also able to visit Sacramento City College (SCC) and various labs in our area. SCC’s Chemistry Club was kind enough to invite our club over for an interesting adventure! After meeting one another and filling ourselves with food, we were able to watch numerous demonstrations including the creation of elephant toothpaste and small homemade fireworks. We also visited a number of labs including the UC Davis Agriculture Analytical Lab and the Plant Pest Diagnostics Center (CDFA). At UC Davis, lab director Dirk Holstege provided us with a fantastic tour of their facilities and expressed the importance of both accuracy and precision. Holstege also gave us demonstrations of LC/MS and GC/MS and shared observational trends in environmental testing. Nirmal Saini, the director of the CDFA lab, also provided us with an interesting perspective on the importance and pros/cons of pesticide use. At this lab we were able to see how samples are stored, prepared, processed and tested using the QUECHERS method.
Later this month, we will continue our touring endeavors at the Stockton Police Department Crime Lab. We also plan to visit a winery and gain insight on the chemistry behind the wine making process. Moreover, we hope to visit Restek West—where our advisor, Dr. Shawn Reese, is a chemist—in order to see the development of GC technology in action.
This semester CRC’s Chemistry Club has been off to a great start. At our first meeting, Dr. Reese demonstrated how to change a Gas Chromatography column and provided a number us with an opportunity to change the column ourselves! In addition, we have begun planning a car wash fundraiser to raise money for the chemistry department at CRC. We hope to have another great semester filled with lab tours, tutoring sessions, fundraising and many other fun-filled chemistry things!
by Hilary Kane