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Students present at chemistry society conference

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College chemistry students represented their discipline and their school at the Midwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemistry Society in Manhattan, Oct. 26-28.

“Thanks to a wonderful gift in memory of O. Karmie Galle, we were able to have six students attend,” said Gary Histand, professor of chemistry. “They all presented their cutting-edge research work to their peers and faculty from other institutions, along with people involved in the chemical industry.”

Alex Haas, sophomore from Topeka, Maya Kathrineberg, sophomore from Salina, Amber Schmidt-Hayes, junior from Newton, Tyler Shima, junior from Topeka, Chase Stucky, senior from Moundridge, and Kiley Varney, junior from Newton, were all presenters or co-presenters of research during the weekend.

Varney and Kathryn Layman, associate professor of chemistry and physics, gave the only talk in the Chemical Education Division portion of the conference that involved both a student and a faculty member.

Their topic was “Synthesis and characterization of ZnO nanoparticles and room-temperature ionic liquids.”

Histand also made a presentation during the Chemical Education Division session, “American chemist teaches chemistry in China.” He returned to teaching at Bethel this fall after two years in China.

Stucky presented “Electrochemical measurements of dopamine in chemotherapy-treated zebrafish,” which resulted from research he did for an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) at the University of Kansas in summer 2016.

His major professor for the REU, Michael Johnson of KU, presented another aspect of the research in which Stucky was involved (and listed as a co-author), “Electrochemical measurement of dopamine release and uptake in zebrafish.”

Schmidt-Hayes and Shima presented “Adsorption of heavy metal ions on magnetic composites,” research they did with Bethel junior Logan Heinrichs of Park City.

Haas presented “Synthesis of the ionic liquid 1-hexyl-3-methylimiazolium bromide,” research that also included 2016 Bethel graduate Bethany Hamill, Newton, and former student Max Stucky-Halley.

Kathrineberg presented “Analysis of the effect of phytoextraction on soil lead concentrations within a historic landfill site,” research done with Bethel sophomore Heath Goertzen and junior Benjamin Wiens, both of Goessel.

Layman was the advising professor on the three projects. All research was presented through posters displayed during the conference.

“The event was a wonderful display of the research abilities of Bethel College students, and [a showcase to] the larger chemical community of the marvelous work Bethel students do,” Histand said.

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016'17. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.