Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Undergraduates get active learning opportunities at UIS

As a freshman, Stephen Salvador never thought he’d be working with real world samples in a college laboratory. He’s getting that opportunity at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“It was something I hadn’t experienced in high school,” said Salvador. “To see the final result was satisfying.”

For five weeks, students got hands-on experience working with various types of rock ore to extract the chemical element copper. The students treated the experiment as if they were running a copper mining operation.

“We push them to think like scientists, we engage them in the laboratory to get them to think about what they’re doing,” said Keenan Dungey, UIS associate professor of chemistry.

Angelica Adduru, a non-degree seeking student, took the General Chemistry 2 course to prepare for medical school. The hands-on laboratory taught her how to work as part of a team.

“I learned how to deal with other people, because this is the first lab we actually had to work with a group of students,” she said.

Dungey says it’s important for students to engage in hands-on research because it teaches them analytical reasoning, critical thinking, and communication skills.

“Here in lab they can actually take those concepts (that they learn in the classroom) and apply them to a real world problem,” said Dungey.

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