New graduate class helps students improve scientific thinking in organic chemistry

The transition from undergraduate to graduate school can be very challenging. In undergraduate programs, students gain knowledge and apply it to problems in chemistry to which scientists have answers; however in graduate school, students obtain skills on how to solve unresolved problems in chemistry. More importantly, in graduate school, students are required to develop the ability to think scientifically and generate original ideas. For many graduate students, this process can be difficult. This process becomes a reality for third-year organic chemistry students, as they submit and defend original research proposals. To help students tackle this challenge, professor Zachary Wickens at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a new graduate-level class.

WI Crystal Growing Contest celebrates state-wide winners

Today, the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry celebrated the 2019 Wisconsin Crystal Growing Competition (WICGC), a middle and high school competition organized by the Molecular Structure Laboratory, where students and teachers put their crystal growing and art skills to the test. Participants were judged on best overall crystal, best quality crystal, best teacher’s crystal for the crystal competition and best crystal-inspired art in the art competition.

2018-19 Wisconsin Space Crystal Mission

At the end of April, the winners of the 2018 Wisconsin Crystal Growing Competition (WICGC) had the opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Center and ISS US National Lab in Cape Canaveral, Florida to take part in the 2018-19 Wisconsin Space Crystal Mission. A team of several high school and middle school students designed experiments comparing the quality of Earth-grown crystals to crystals grown in microgravity conditions aboard the International Space Station. During their time in Florida, students were able to prepare and present their experiments, and upon arrival home, they were able to watch the launch of their crystals into space. The team members of the Wisconsin Space Crystal Mission included Kaitlyn Twesme, Joana Pashaj, Kristin Kiley, Joseph Quinn, and Payton Kelly-VanDomelen, and they were accompanied by their families, project leader Dr. Ilia Guzei, project scientist Dr. Galina Bikzhanova, and project coordinator Stephanie Twesme. Payton Kelly-VanDomelen, a middle school student from Sun Prairie, WI, is part of the WICGC Student Media Team, and was able to document her experience in Florida.