Lamar University’s chemistry department continues to grow, thanks in part to The Welch Foundation’s departmental grant. Over the past year, Welch funding helped support faculty research involving 24 graduate students and 19 undergraduates and provided direct scholarships to four of the undergrads and two in the master’s program.
“Our goal is to teach chemistry majors to learn how to think creatively, troubleshoot complex problems, perform detailed analyses and make decisions based on research,” says Xiangyang Lei, interim department chair, noting that undergrads are required to take three credit hours of research. “Hands-on experience in the lab is crucial to ensuring they get the most out of their scientific studies.”
Lamar offers a B.S. in chemistry and forensic chemistry, a B.A. in chemistry and biochemistry, and an M.S. in chemistry with 13 tenured or tenure-track faculty members and one full-time instructor representing the biochemistry, physical, organic, inorganic, and analytical chemistry disciplines. Of the department’s six graduating seniors last year, two are in graduate programs, one went to medical school and three found industry positions.
“Being able to pursue chemistry in a state that has Welch Foundation support is a real benefit – both for my own research and for the education of our students,” Dr. Lei adds.