P633: Engaging first year undergraduates in research: The Coffee Project

Author: Ronald L. Halterman, University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA

Co-Author: Stephanie I. Allred, Emily P. Erdman, Jane Hsi, Dallas P. Milligan, Anna Marie Rowell, Josie M. Smith and Steven B. Foster, University of Oklahoma, USA

Date: 8/5/14

Time: 5:15 PM6:30 PM

Room: LIB

Related Symposium: S33

The Coffee Project at the University of Oklahoma was initiated in January 2014 with six first-year undergraduate students investigating the molecular gastronomy of coffee. Molecular gastronomy is the science of applying molecular analytic techniques to understanding the chemical makeup of taste and is ideally suited to introducing students to bench-centered research. During the first two-thirds of the term, students investigated a common question regarding the staling of roasted coffee beans upon storage. Green coffee from different regions was freshly roasted to light, medium and dark levels. Coffee was brewed using best coffeehouse practices under controlled grind, temperature, time and water ratios to give optimized percent dissolved solids and percent extraction. After extracting the coffee with organic solvent, the flavor components were quantified against an internal standard and identified by Kovats-indexed retention times using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Variations in the concentration of around forty flavor components were determined and graphed. Marked differences were apparent in the different roast levels and more subtle changes were detected between varieties and as a function of storage time before brewing. During the last third of the term, the students designed and conducted research to test their own independent questions related to the study of coffee. They contributed to a common project poster, and each prepared a poster on their independent inquiry. The retention of these students in STEM related studies will be followed. This project demonstrates a scalable program to engage students in meaningful research that can readily incorporate independent inquiry.

P17: Story telling historical top-down flipped approach with molecular essay exams

Author: Mark M. Green, New York University, USA


Date: 8/3/14

Time: 2:45 PM3:05 PM

Room: LMH 176

Related Symposium: S3

The year long sophomore course in organic chemistry at the Engineering School of New York University with students majoring in both chemical engineering and various scientific disciplines leading to graduate school, scientific employment, and medical and dental school has been taught using an approach in which the principles of the science of organic chemistry are discovered by the students in the complex phenomena arising from application of these principles. For example, the nature of carbonyl chemistry is discovered in the nature of the catabolism of fats and sugars. The properties of carbocations are discovered in the practices of the chemical industrial production of high octane fuels and in the biochemical in vivo processes leading to the terpenes and lanosterol. The struggle of the chemical industry to produce cumene on the route to epoxy resin and polycarbonates reveals the nature of electrophilic aromatic substitution. Many chemical reactions are discovered in Woodward’s synthesis of cholesterol and Corey’s synthesis of prostaglandin. The course is presented using a flipped approach based on a year’s lectures available to the students on the web (organicchemistryprinciplesincontext.com/). The scientific content is presented in the context of the major players in the history of the science following on the textbook: Organic Chemistry Principles in Context: A Story Telling Historical Approach, which has been reviewed by Nature Chemistry: “This textbook offers a fascinating and dramatic change to the landscape of textbook choice.”