The study of chemistry at Blackburn features hands-on instruction and one-on-one learning from faculty in a family-style environment. Blackburn chemistry students and faculty form close relationships with everyday interaction. Faculty are accessible, cooperative, and take great pride in their students’ academic and personal progress.
Chemistry majors are expected to be self-motivated, and participate in classroom discussions and lab experiments to discuss ideas and solve problems. Lectures are interactive, low-key, and relaxed, and subjects are tailored to the interests and needs of students.
In the labs, Blackburn students take the initiative to conduct experiments, work closely with faculty, and instruct their peers.
- Chemistry: General Track
- Chemistry: Pre-Med or Other Health Professions
“Flipping” The Classroom!
The Blackburn Chemistry Department participates in Flipped Classroom, an innovative learning tool that “turns the tables” on traditional learning. Professors produce lectures on video, which students watch in their residence hall or home, on their own time. Students then are assigned homework and other enrichment activities for class discussion.
This process is truly “flipped.” Instead of lectures in the classroom and homework outside, students watch lectures outside, then discuss homework assignments in class. The Flipped Classroom has proven popular with students, who enjoy its “outside the box” format.
Awards & Events
The Chemistry Department honors the achievements of its students with an array of awards at special events, including:
- Chamness Family Scholarship
- The Elizabeth Wright Stedley award is presented at graduation to the top chemistry major.
- Dr. Louis K. Eilers Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry and Sciences
- Senior Seminar. One Chemistry major is nominated for Blackburn’s annual Senior Symposium in the spring. Chemistry majors have often placed in the top three of the competition.
- Blackburn Science Day. Each spring since 1987, the science departments at Blackburn have hosted Science Day, when many area high schools are invited to the Blackburn campus for a day of learning and celebration of the sciences. High school students conduct experiments, listen to interesting presentations, participate in competitions, and enjoy personal contact with Blackburn faculty and students.
The following scholarships are also available to chemistry majors:
- Beginning Scholar Award
- The Elizabeth Wright Steidley Prize to a graduating senior chemistry major
- Everybody’s Educational Fund
- Gantt/Rohatsch Scholarship
- Robert M. Whitlock Scholarship Fund
- Clifford L. Drew Scholarship
Blackburn takes great pride in the excellent job placement of chemistry majors and the extremely high acceptance rate of chemistry students in medical school and graduate school.
This is because students acquire skills in their Blackburn experience that prepares them for graduate study and career advancement. Students work together and learn together in a hands-on environment, building skills in collaboration and communication that prepares them for job placement or graduate school.
Career opportunities for Blackburn chemistry graduates include:
- Government jobs
- Education / teaching
- Industrial jobs
- Lab technician
- Quality control
More information on careers in chemistry may be found at the American Chemical Society’s website.
The science learning environment at Blackburn was enhanced in 2008 with the Mahan Science Laboratory Wing, a 28,000 square foot addition that doubled the size of Blackburn’s science buildings. The wing has state-of-the-art facilities with seven teaching laboratories for chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and biology, along with a water analysis lab and the latest in chemical-analysis equipment.
The Mahan Wing was one of the first structures in central Illinois with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEP) rating, a reflection of its environmentally friendly design.
Clubs and Organizations
The Chemistry Department and other science departments at Blackburn offer students an array of clubs and organizations.
- Pre-Health Professionals Group: Students seeking a career in health fields may join this club. The PHP helps keep students informed of current developments in their fields, career opportunities, and helpful professionals in their fields.
- Red Cross Club: This group helps sponsor the annual Red Cross Blood Drive at Blackburn, a popular event with both the campus and the community alike.
- Sustainability Club: This club is for students interested in ways to sustain the Earth and its environment.
Work Program Opportunities
In the Work Program, chemistry students have multiple job opportunities that relate to their studies. Student workers tutor their peers, grade papers, use lab instruments in hands-on experience, instruct fellow students in the labs, and assist professors with experiments.
Students may apply to work as:
- Chemistry tutor
- Department assistant
- Chemistry Lab assistant