California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson has received a $200,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to support a unique chemistry lab model aimed at addressing barriers to the sciences for part-time, working students.
For nontraditional students who work or commute long distances to campus, spending hours in a lab each week can be daunting and is often a deterrent in the pursuit of a degree in science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM) fields, school officials say.
Recognizing the large population of part-time, working students, as well as students underrepresented in the sciences who attend CSU Dominguez Hills, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry sought a more flexible model for students completing lab requirements.
"We believe this is an approach to lab curricula that has not been done before," said Dr. H. Leonardo Martinez, professor of chemistry who is the principal investigator on the Keck grant. "We are very confident it will work and that it will attract more students into chemistry and STEM."
In conjunction with the Keck Foundation grant, chemistry lab instruction will be redesigned so that some of the lab time can be accomplished remotely with the use of what is called the cyber-enabled mass spectrometer, funded by the Keck Foundation.