Benedictine College Hosts National Computational Chemistry Workshop

Benedictine College Hosts National Computational Chemistry Workshop

Published: Thursday, July 7, 2016

Chemistry_Group_PhotoThe Benedictine College Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry hosted the annual Computational Chemistry for Chemistry Educators (CCCE) workshop this year. The workshop for chemistry professors is offered through a program called Chemistry Collaboration, Workshops & Communities of Scholars (cCWCS), sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The workshop is designed to provide support for STEM education.

“This is the first time one of these cCWCS workshops was held at Benedictine College and we were happy to host chemistry faculty from all over the United States,” said Dr. Gail Blaustein, assistant professor at Benedictine College and the coordinator of the workshop’s onsite logistics. “The purpose of this workshop was to introduce the use of computational chemistry as a teaching tool for chemistry professors to use in courses of all levels.”

The weeklong workshop covered various ways computers can be used to enhance and expand the educational experience of students enrolled in the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. The program included lectures, discussions and hands-on laboratory exercises on visualization, simulation, molecular modeling and mathematical software. The workshop wrapped up with time for participants to develop and present case studies based on what they have learned in the workshop for use in their own classrooms.

“The workshops are free to participants, with housing, tuition and meals provided, so participation is limited by cCWCS,” Blaustein said. “We had 21 faculty participants and four instructors for this workshop. It was a great way to introduce them to Benedictine College during our Century of Science.”

Benedictine College first conferred Bachelor of Science degrees in 1916 and is currently celebrating 100 years of science on the campus in Atchison, Kan. One of the key aspects of the Century of Science is the renovation and expansion of Westerman Hall, the science building where the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is housed. Plans call for the renovation of all four floors of Westerman Hall and the construction of a 40,000 square foot addition.

“The sciences are vital to Benedictine College and Benedictine College science is important to the future of this country,” said Stephen D. Minnis, president of Benedictine College. “We believe that faith, morality and ethics are just as important in the sciences as in every other part of our lives. They cannot be separated.”

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.