Irene Kimaru (St. John Fisher College, USA)
Environmental issues are an area of great concern not only in the press but also in numerous chemistry courses, where they are used to show the relevance of chemical principles in solving everyday environmental problems. Many students have an interest in the environmental aspects of chemistry. This upper level undergraduate course was developed to serve as an introduction of how familiar and advanced techniques of instrumental analysis are applied to the trace analysis of environmental pollutants. The course serves chemistry majors who have completed quantitative chemical analysis and instrumental analysis. The course is centered on exploring the connections between analytical chemical principles and current environmental concerns as well as the importance of monitoring and protecting our environment. This presentation discusses the implementation of this course over a period of three years. Students are taught about the sources and transport of pollutants, fundamentals of environmental sampling, sample pretreatment methods and instrumental analysis. Students complete different service-learning projects in which they specifically experience each step of analysis from sampling environmental matrices to sample handling and instrumental analysis or develop hands-on activities for children that illustrate the relevance of environmental chemistry to society. The goal of the service learning projects is to enable students to apply chemical principles in new settings and contexts to benefit the community. The service learning projects help students develop a greater understanding of topics covered in class and facilitate the development of skills that place students at an advantage in future careers and higher education programs by enhancing their research ability, practical skills, and experience.