University announces bachelor’s degree in chemistry

ST. GEORGE — Beginning in the fall, Dixie State University will offer a new Bachelor of Science in chemistry. School officials tout the new degree will not only add to the total number of four-year programs the university offers, but will enhance Dixie’s overall academic excellence in undergraduate education and experiential learning.

The new chemistry degree is the second four-year program offered by DSU’s Department of Physical Sciences. The program will provide a course of study for students who wish to pursue careers in the sciences and related fields, including technology, health-related professions, science teaching, law, and other areas.

We are striving to develop programs that build on the strength of our area,” said Kelly Bringhurst, chair of DSU’s Physical Sciences Department. “We have a strong local manufacturing sector that utilizes cutting edge chemical processes. Working with these businesses will develop a strong local workforce, and prepare graduates to reach their goals.

DSU’s chemistry department currently features six full time faculty members, along with several part-time and adjunct faculty members, all with backgrounds covering all of the subdisciplines of chemistry as well as materials, environmental science, biochemistry, computational methods and chemistry education. In addition, several adjunct faculty and staff members bring tremendous experience in chemical laboratory settings and science education to support the program.

Bringhurst said that students who choose to major in chemistry can expect a rigorous program of coursework, laboratory work, and experiential learning through independent research projects. He added that a minor in chemistry is also available, which can be obtained through completion of upper division chemistry coursework, and awarded concurrently with a student’s major degree.

The chemistry program is housed in the Snow Science Center, which features renovated classrooms and new laboratory space for teaching and research. This new facility, supported by the generosity of Edward and Idonna Snow, also provides space for research projects performed by undergraduate students working directly with experienced faculty members.

Our Snow Science Center has truly been a catalyst for the rapid development of our new chemistry degree program,” Bringhurst said. “Without (the Snow family’s) generosity toward building new labs, classrooms, and the overall remodeling of that facility, we would not be in the position to develop such a strong program. Our local environment is also a strong resource, we plan on focusing student research into areas critical to the quality of life in our area.”

“This is an exciting time for Dixie State. The new chemistry program will serve as a foundation on which to grow and provide educational opportunities in the vast landscape of science for students pursuing careers in different scientific fields,” said Dr. Rico Del Sesto, DSU assistant professor of chemistry. “The combination of quantitative reasoning and critical thinking developed during the course of study in chemistry yields a powerful skill set for our students, who will graduate prepared to address and solve complex situations that will evolve in the near and distant future.“

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