Grant to Fund Chemistry Lab Upgrades for Nursing Students

Nurse at computer

Chemistry Department Awarded $10,000 Grant

CHICAGO, IL (January 22, 2009) – North Park University nursing students will soon benefit from state-of-the-art technologies in the school’s chemistry laboratory thanks to a $10,000 grant awarded by the Max Goldenberg Foundation.

Chemistry professor Jonathan Rienstra-Kiracofe applied for the grant after submitting a detailed proposal to the foundation, which supports projects in medical research, laboratory science education, and charitable endeavors.

The funds he received will be used specifically to purchase PDA-like computers that can be connected to probes to measure temperature, pH, color absorption, and conductivity. According to Rienstra-Kiracofe, not only will these computers enable pre-nursing students to graph data in real time, but they will also allow them to analyze chemical compounds and examine solutions with a sophistication similar to many hospitals and medical laboratories.

While North Park’s school of nursing has previously received funding from the Max Goldenberg foundation, this is the first grant of its kind to be awarded to the chemistry department. The retooled lab is scheduled to be completed within a year, Rienstra-Kiracofe projects, and is essential to keeping North Park’s chemistry program relevant and effective in educating future nurses, many of whom are minority students and from Chicago or the surrounding area.

For Rienstra-Kiracofe, who is in his ninth year of teaching undergraduate chemistry and his second year of teaching at North Park, the greatest satisfaction is seeing students who may have initially felt overwhelmed by the challenge of chemistry realize the joys of scientific discovery.

“It is rewarding to see students understand a chemistry concept by doing a hands-on experiment in the laboratory,” he says. “The new equipment we will purchase through the Max Goldenberg grant will allow us to make students' laboratory experiences more relevant and instructive.”