Students observed that some of Weber State University’s technology is not as up to date those in the professional world.

According to research done by Trandon Bender, Jenacee Booth and professor Edward Walker, almost every company in the chemical industry requires instrumental experience handling a high pressure liquid chromatography instrument, and with advances in ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography quickly becoming an industrial standard, it is expected that experience with these instruments will be integral as well.

The research presented at NCUR Friday is based on a method developed by Bender and Booth to simulate UHPLC condition extractions while using the HPLC that WSU currently has available to students. Using this methodology, undergraduate students would be able to practice the types of extractions used for UHPLC without the cost of going to an institution that owns one.

“If you’re in a chemistry program at Weber, you know that you’re not going to get any experience in high pressure liquid chromatography until your senior year of the chemistry bachelor’s degree,” Bender said.

This presents a problem for students who receive the chemical technician two-year degree and then try to pursue positions in industry. Students in the chemistry bachelor’s degree program at WSU are not exposed to HPLC technology until their senior year.

“We saw a hole in undergraduate research and we hoped that by developing this method students would be able to get the training necessary for jobs,” Bender said.

Bender explained one of the purposes of the presentation for NCUR was to be able to get advice from other academic sources on how to conform their methods to fit the needs of other undergraduate programs facing similar problems. Bender is an American Chemical Society certified chemistry major graduating this semester, and Booth is a dual major of zoology and chemistry.

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