Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Marvelous Metals livestream talks chemistry

National Chemistry Week was celebrated all throughout the world and by SUNY Plattsburgh students in Hudson Hall by watching the Marvelous Metals livestream Oct. 26 by the American Chemical Society.

The event, hosted by the Chemistry Club, showed students how to harness the power of metals. Main speakers Vy M. Dong, chemistry professor from the University of California Irvine, and Thomas J. Meade, chemistry professor from Northwestern University, spoke during this livestream. Students were able to ask the professors questions through Twitter. Many questions ranged from what their favorite element was to more technical topics.

The majority of the 50 attendees were biology and nutrition majors, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education students.

Each year, the American Chemical Society chooses a theme that will define the content they will be discussing with other STEM students across the globe. The theme they chose this year was called Marvelous Metals.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead are present in our foods. At high levels they are toxic to digest, but it is not possible to completely eliminate them because they are present in natural resources, such as water.

Rajesh Sunasee, faculty advisor for the Chemistry Club and associate professor of chemistry, explained that this event was beneficial to students in teaching them how metals affect them in their everyday lives, because often people are unaware of how much chemistry is present in regular routine.

“The goal of this event was to show how metals are important in our everyday life. Metals are being applied in medicine and many other fields. It’s in our clothing, our food,” Sunasee said.

Yusha Imtiaz is a senior biochemistry major and the president for SUNY Plattsburgh’s Chemistry Club. He spoke about how students can often get bored when talking about the cold facts about chemistry. However, during this event, students were able to participate in discussion and relate to how chemistry affects them.

“I would say it was very effective because during this hour and a half, they forget about their chemistry classes, they’re actually attending an event and think how chemistry is important in everyday life,” Sunasee said. “They told me they really liked it and it gave them a different perspective of how chemistry is being applied in society.”

The Chemistry Club has meetings every other week, Imtiaz said. He went on further to say that the chemistry club is a great avenue for students to gain opportunities that will further their academic career. These opportunities include things such as getting involved in research and just having older mentors who can guide them in the right direction.

“It’s helped me go find people who are sophomores or freshman to help give advice or guidance, things to help them find their way through college,” Imtiaz said. “I wish I had that at that point in my time.”

Sunasee pointed out that the event showed students how research is conducted at a higher education level and how Ph.D students are approaching their research with metals.

Junior chemistry major Nathanial McCauley explained that while these events do help STEM majors, it is also with the help of their professors that they succeed.

“I think that’s the best part about the chemistry department teachers; they are extremely outgoing and they really want to help you be successful,” McCauley said. “They’ll do anything it takes, really.”

It is agreed among STEM students and teachers that the Marvelous Metals event showed students how metals are incorporated in our everyday life as well as what one’s future might look like in higher STEM education.

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