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Department to Offer Chemistry Minor in Fall

By David Hoyt

Shakespeare devotees who also love the lab can finally create the educational program of their dreams with the newly-announced chemistry minor.

Introducing a minor is something we have been discussing for a long time, Chemistry Department Chair Mo Hunsen said, noting that other Kenyon science departments have offered minors for several years. Because many students take a decent amount of upper-level classes in chemistry, Hunsen said the department wanted to recognize that and encourage that.

Offering the minor should provide benefits both to students and to the department, Hunsen said. In this time and age, something that can beef up the resume is a great thing in the job market, Hunsen said. I think indicating in [a students] degree that they have a minor in chemistry will help them when they look for a job.

Hunsen also expects the new chemistry minors to diversify the departments upper-level classes, which currently consist of mostly chemistry majors.

While the chemistry major requires 6.0 units of credit, the new chemistry minor will require 2.5 units. Requirements include completion of an introductory chemistry course, two introductory laboratory classes, an advanced seminar and two 200- or 300-level lectures selected from an approved list. Alternatively, additional seminar sections can be substituted for these lectures. The minor will officially be implemented next semester and available to members of the Class of 2013.

Hunsen said the new minor has garnered a decent amount of interest already. We dont know how many students will decide to minor in chemistry, he said. Maybe five, maybe eight, maybe 12, but well have to wait and see over the years how that picks up.

Jacob Williams 14, a pre-med math major who plans to declare the chemistry minor, sees the minor as an added incentive. It will just be really helpful to take the extra classes, and I dont know if I would be necessarily as persuaded to just take a 400-level seminar if they didnt have the minor, he said.

Hunsen expects that many students who declare the minor will be pre-med, and Williams noted that pre-meds chemistry requirements nearly fulfill the minor requirements anyway. Hunsen also hopes to draw students from many diverse majors. For psychology majors, being able to show they minored in chemistry will open up doors later on. Showing that they have strong experimental background in the sciences will make them more visible, he said.

I havent done much research in math; Ive done more research in chem, Williams said. But I dont have any degree in chem, even though Ive done a lot of research in it, so having a chem minor at least demonstrates some degree of proficiency in chemistry. So if Im looking for a research opportunity in chemistry, having a minor could be helpful.

In the past, we have had English majors some of them definitely pre-meds taking significant amounts of chemistry, Hunsen said. Youre an English major with a chemistry minor [is a] different story versus youre an English major. You could be a science writer, for example. Especially when it comes to English, anthropology, things like that, it seems far away from the sciences, but I think having a chemistry minor brings the two together.

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