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NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (WC)– Three Westminster College chemistry/biochemistry students and five environmental science students attended Pittcon 2019, a leading annual conference and expo on laboratory science, held March 17-21 in Philadelphia.

Pictured in front from left: Tia Kowalo, Jessica Grady, Maria Wahal, Dr. Helen Boylan, and Eve Marie Kammerdiener. In back from left: Dr. Jessica Sarver, Andrew Kearney, Matthew Ford, Matthew Balczon and Justin Anuszek.

The students presented research posters as part of the undergraduate poster session:

• “Analysis of the Degradation of the Allelochemical Juglone under Compost Conditions” by Jessica Grady (Dr. Ann Throckmorton, mentor)

• “HPLC and GCMS Analysis of Photo-Degraded Organic Pollutants” by Eve Marie Kammerdiener (Dr. Zachary Rodgers, mentor)

• “HPLC and UV-VIS Analysis of a Co(II) Catalyst for Photo-Mediated Thiol-ene Click Reactions to Determine Catalytic Effectiveness” by Matthew Ford (Dr. Zachary Rodgers, mentor)

• “Investigating Microplastics in Macroinvertebrates Collected from the Little Neshannock Creek, Using Clean Air Processing Methods” by Tia Kowalo, Justin Anuszek, Andrew Kearney and Matthew Balczon (Dr. Helen Boylan, mentor)

• “Parameterization of DPA for Analysis Using Molecular Dynamic Simulations” by Maria Wahal (Dr. Jessica Sarver, mentor)

Westminster students also had the opportunity to work behind the scenes at the conference as student aides.

“Being able to attend Pittcon this year as a student aid was truly an amazing experience,” said Wahal. “I had the opportunity to network with professionals from all over the world, and learning about current research in the industry only deepened my passion for chemistry.”

The Westminster group connected with several alumni during the conference, including: Becky Morey Brown ’05, Ian Taylor ’08, Andrew Davic ’09, Justin Shearer ’02, Brian Domanski ’08, Marc Hubert ’02, Kim Palastro ’14, Sarah Welsh ’13 and Ashley Blystone ’12.

Faculty members Dr. Helen Boylan, professor of chemistry and director of the Center for the Environment, and Dr. Jessica Sarver, assistant professor of chemistry, serve on the organizing committee for Pittcon. Boylan chaired the Activities Committee, and both Boylan and Sarver assisted with developing the technical program for Pittcon and served as career mentors with Pittcon’s Employment Bureau.

Nearly 15,000 attendees from industry, academia and government from over 90 countries worldwide attended the conference.

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