Physics and Chemistry Professional Days

Physics Professional Day

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Local area teachers attended the first Physics Professional Day sponsored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Y.A.P.A. (Youngstown Area Physics Alliance) on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. At this first all-day meeting, the faculty from the Physics Department presented demonstrations covering varying topics such as resonance, energy, sound and an explanation of the upcoming Physics Olympics competition.

The teachers watched a presentation in the Planetarium and learned about the many resources available to them, including travel expenses to bring their students to YSU’s campus. Each teacher received hands-on laboratory ideas and supplies to use in his or her own classroom to create items used to initiate infrasonic sound waves and information about the ease of applying for STEM scholarships. Y.A.P.A. coordinator, Mary Janek, was very pleased with the success of the inaugural meeting and hopes to continue the practice in conjunction with the YSU Physics & Astronomy Department.

Written by Aislinn Janek

Chemistry Professional Day

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The Department of Chemistry hosted its annual Professional Day January 6th. Professional Day is a one-day workshop for local teachers touching on topics of chemical and/or educational interest.

This year the theme for Professional Day was “Forensic Science: How Chemistry is Used to Help Us Solve Mysteries, Murder and Mayhem!” Participants were welcomed by Dr. Tim Wagner, the chair of the department. Teachers then heard presentations from two people with experience in forensic analysis. Andrew Hirt, President and Senior Scientist of Materials Research Laboratories, Inc. (MRL), in Struthers, Ohio has worked with law enforcement at the local, state, and national level. He spoke on using the right instrumental tools to prove or refute the evidence. Andrew was followed by one of YSU’s own, Shaena Taylor (BSAS in Forensic Science, 2008). Shaena is currently a Forensic Scientist 3 specializing in drug chemistry at Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Laboratory located within the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office in Cleveland, Ohio. She discussed the drug trade in the Cleveland area, and she gave an overview of a typical day in the lab focusing on the analysis of drug mixtures involving cocaine and heroin.

After the presentations teachers had a chance to perform one of two forensic labs – TLC of over-the-counter pain killers or a qualitative analysis of ions found in blood. In the afternoon, teachers finished the day in the Department of Criminal Justice & Forensic Sciences where Professor Susan Clutter demonstrated how do visualize blood splatter. Professor Rob Wardle showed everyone how to visualize latent fingerprints. Student Melissa James gave us a tour of the crime scene condo where students in the department learn how to secure a crime scene and collect evidence. The response from the participants was overwhelmingly positive and several planned on incorporating what they learned into their classes.