C2H4. That’s the chemical formula for ethylene, a colorless, odorless gas that’s released as fruit ripens, and it’s also what music business major Mimi Ijir learned this week can break down starches in the food she consumes.
Ijir is among the 22 students taking an undergraduate Maymester course being offered on campus this year for the third time, a Junior Cornerstone Seminar taught by chemistry Professor Dr. Kim Daus. The seminar, titled “Better Eating through Chemistry: Using Chemistry to Improve Local Cuisine,” manages to accomplish two noteworthy feats: getting non-science majors excited about organic chemistry while also encouraging better eating habits in college students.
The four-credit hour course, which meets from 9 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. five days a week for three weeks, includes lectures, readings, problem solving assignments, research, field trips, lab experimentation and intensive group work and assessment. Though the work load and time commitment is not for the faint-hearted, the class appeared thoroughly engaged in the course material.
Ijir said, “It’s definitely made me a smarter cook. It’s been fascinating to see the connections behind the food and realize not just that bread is bad for me but learn why it’s bad from a chemistry standpoint.”
The class begins each morning with an overview of basic chemistry principles involved in food and cooking, including covalent bonds, pH, solubility, states of matter, physical and chemical properties, and intermolecular attractive forces. A lab experiment generally follows, with Tuesday’s research asking students to hypothesize which type of flour contained the most gluten and then to test their theories through water rinses that distinguished gluten from starch.
The partnership between Belmont University and Rose Park Middle Magnet School culminated Friday with seventh and eighth grade students from the middle school’s journalism club seeking advice from University students, receiving instruction from Belmont instructors and using the Media Studies journalism lab to write articles.
For the fifth consecutive year, Belmont journalism students worked with the middle school’s newspaper staff to produce Edgehill’s Best. The students received weekly tutorials from four Belmont Vision students and newspaper adviser and journalism instructor Dorren Robinson throughout the spring semester, learning how to develop story ideas, interview sources and write leads. Heather Thompson, a senior from Chattanooga, Tenn., created the lesson plans to teach the principles of journalism to the Rose Park students.
While on campus Friday, the students interviewed Belmont Director of Development and Major Gifts Harry Chapman, retired Tennessean Editorial Page Editor Dwight Lewis, Belmont Communications Specialist Juanita Cousins and Tennessean reporter Brian Wilson and wrote articles on their panel discussion. The students also toured the University’s campus and ate lunch alongside Belmont students in the cafeteria.
Nicole Vincent, a seventh-grade geography teacher and the newspaper’s adviser, said she hopes the visit to Belmont gave her journalism students “valuable career information” through their exposure to the college campus and Nashville journalists.
“This is their reward – to get the newspapers and see their names in print and to learn about life on campus,” Robinson said. “The point of the newspaper is not just for Rose Park. The point of it is to get information out to the whole community, and for them to be proud of their students.”
Instructor of Journalism Hyangsook Lee designed and laid out the newspaper, and the University printed 5,000 copies for distribution in the Edgehill community. In addition, it is given to Metro Council members and left in bins at local churches, restaurants, community centers and gas stations throughout the summer. This spring’s edition covers the new 12 South police precinct, Rose Park Middle School renovations, information on E.S. Rose Park, student fundraisers and the University’s Bridges to Belmont program, among other topics.
With priority registration starting next week, returning students may see some unexpected courses cropping up on the Fall 2014 Classfinder schedule. Next semester Belmont expands its program options with the addition of two new majors that are a perfect fit for future career opportunities in Middle Tennessee: music therapy and publishing.
“A major in music therapy has been a dream for our School of Music faculty for a decade, particularly with our focus on education and nurturing through the arts,” said Associate Dean for Academic Studies Dr. Madeline Bridges. “Add in the healthcare opportunities present in Nashville and the region, and this new program is a perfect fit for Belmont and the broader community.”
The only one of its kind in the state, Belmont’s music therapy program will be rigorous. Students will need a total of 136 hours including the required 41 BELL Core general education hours, 79 music hours, 20 hours of music therapy courses and an additional 13 clinical foundations courses. In addition, the program will require a six-month internship, often outside of Nashville. Once complete, the degree will qualify graduates to sit for the board certification exam.
Belmont students had the opportunity to learn about the art of paper folding when origami expert Malachi Brown spoke to students about the connections between art, math and engineering during an interactive convocation event last Thursday in McWhorter 114.
The “Mathematical Musings and Munchings” event, sponsored by the Department of Math and Computer Science, allowed students to see how modern origami design techniques use math to facilitate art and explore forms of plane geometry with their own hands. Brown also spoke about the practical applications of origami.
Brown was seven years old when he was first introduced to origami. Since then, with decades of practice, his passion for paper folding has only increased. Brown frequently teaches origami to students of all ages and finds joy in passing on the creative spark and passion for shaping paper into objects of wonder and beauty.
Belmont University’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science seeks to provide a supportive and challenging intellectual community where students are encouraged to develop independence, creativity and excellence in their chosen field.
Last week, Belmont’s School of Sciences presented “Brain Awareness Week” as a part of the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. Events included speakers from Vanderbilt University and the Belmont neuroscience program as well as a showing of the film Memento.
In addition, students were given the opportunity to dissect sheep brains to help better understand structure-function relationships in the nervous system. Dillon Oman, a junior neuroscience major, facilitated this event. Dillon is interested in pursuing a career that will allow him to combine his love of neuroscience with his passion for educating people about neuroscience.
“Brain Awareness Week is a great opportunity to showcase the talented neuroscientists we have at Belmont along with fascinating speakers from our community. Given the plethora of exciting new techniques and discoveries, it’s easy to see why President Obama called his BRAIN initiative ‘the next great American project’,” Dr. Lori McGrew, associate professor of biology, said.
Neuroscience is a growing field, including a wide range of subdisciplines such as cognition, behavior, cellular neuroscience and computational neuroscience. Belmont’s neuroscience major combines foundational courses in biology, chemistry, psychology and physics with upper level coursework in biology and psychology and culminates in a student-driven research project in neuroscience. The program prepares students for careers as research assistants and animal behavioralists among others or for entry into medical school or graduate school.