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Chemistry Department Hosts Successful 2012 ECU Homecoming Event

GREENVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 5, 2012) — This fall, after a one-year hiatus, the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry hosted a spectacular event for nearly 150 alumni, faculty, staff and students at East Carolina University's 2012 Homecoming. Many alumni and members of the chemical industry were present, including CEO of Metrics, Inc., Phil Hodges, and Human Resources Manager of Fuji Silysia Chemical USA, Ltd., Wanda Williams. The newly rekindled Chemistry Club, an American Chemical Society Student Affiliate Chapter, was given the opportunity to work closely with faculty to plan and host the event. 

The Chemistry Club and research faculty hosted a poster event during Homecoming, presenting current research projects and goals within the Department of Chemistry. Graduate and undergraduate researchers gained valuable experience presenting their research to a scientific audience. Current research projects include work on derivatives for cancer drugs, Cystic Fibrosis and HIV/AIDS, and the preservation of the Queen Anne's Revenge.  

Chemical entertainment during the event included several demonstrations by The Chemistry Club; "the levitating board," "the shake me bottle" and "how to burn a dollar." Also, the club was responsible for preparing a special dessert treat of liquid nitrogen ice cream. Liquid nitrogen ice cream is similar to regular ice cream, with the exception of how fast it is frozen. Liquid nitrogen is added, nearly instantaneously freezing the mixture. The quick freezing gives a creamier texture than traditional ice cream.

Faculty and students within the department have close ties, allowing professors to educate outside the traditional lecture role, and teach students through demonstrations and research, as evidenced by those exhibited at Homecoming. 

"It was an exciting evening that brought out the true cohesiveness of the department and students," said Chair of the Department of Chemistry Dr. Rickey Hicks.

In addition, the Chemistry Club and the Pirate Tutoring Center formed a new partnership by building a Homecoming pirate ship float with the theme, "The Greatest Place on Earth." "The PTC and Department of Chemistry firmly believe in the positive influence that ECU's atmosphere has on students," said Hicks. "We feel Greenville is one of the 'greatest places on earth.'"

The PTC and Chemistry Club built the pirate ship float to represent a circus, which included a big top tent and 'nerdy' Pirates in lab coats dancing to the viral hit, "Gangnam Style." Between the two organizations, more than 25 people rode on the float, which was one of the largest academic groups in the parade.

This spring the Chemistry Club has more exciting events planned with the Department of Chemistry. They hope to tour local pharmaceutical companies and bring representatives from the industrial workforce to campus to speak about job opportunities.

"The faculty of the Department of Chemistry are helping students succeed, not only in the classroom or lab, but by helping them build relationships within industry and the academic community that will last a lifetime," said Hicks.