The College of Science
A Potent Mix
Renovation of Chevy Goldstein Chemistry Labs Boasts High-Tech Equipment for Advanced Research
By Juliet Hidalgo
Blend forward-looking laboratories into an existing building, renovate a classroom, top it off with innovative technology and you have Cal Poly Pomona’s formula for improving chemistry education.
All of these ingredients came together in the $300,000 Chevy Goldstein Physical Chemistry and Computational Chemistry Labs renovation, a project that accommodated its first classes in the fall quarter. Dina Perry, sister of the late Chemistry Professor Chevy Goldstein, made the generous donation.
The high-tech equipment housed in the new labs is giving students research opportunities that they had not had before. The Physical Chemistry Lab has also put Cal Poly Pomona on the map.
“The research-grade instruments are very seldom found in undergraduate teaching laboratories,” says Chemistry Professor Timothy C. Corcoran. “The instruments allow us to investigate protein stability and binding reactions.”
The lab also boasts a spectrometer and an imaging microscope, which allow students to identify the fingerprints of a molecule. The microscope is another piece of equipment not commonly outfitted in a university lab. “These valuable tools will lift the chemistry department, and the entire College of Science, to a new level of teaching and research capabilities,” Corcoran says.
The labs create a true learn-by-doing classroom for students and faculty. The textbook comes alive in this learning-rich environment.
“The Physical Chemistry Lab gave me the opportunity to fail and to use crucial problem-solving skills to learn,” says Jessica Williams, a fourth-year chemistry student. “Having top-of-the line instruments to work with provides us with a competitive advantage over other universities once we enter the industry workforce or graduate school.”
The Goldstein Labs have accomplished Perry’s goal of creating a learning environment her sister would have applauded. “My sister loved Cal Poly Pomona. She not only went to school here but she taught here as well,” Perry says. “I wanted these labs to be a tribute to what my sister loved most: her teaching and the school.”
The gift reinforces the family tie to Cal Poly Pomona and will give the next generation of students enhanced research tools.
“Dina Perry is an outstanding partner, and we are grateful for her support of our chemistry students, faculty and college,” says Brian Jersky, dean of the College of Science. “The Goldstein Labs not only pay tribute to Chevy’s teaching and research passions, but also offer our students an extraordinary opportunity to formulate and test their innovative ideas.”
The Computational Chemistry Lab is designed with convertible desks containing rotating panels that allow students to quickly adapt from conventional instructional methods to computational-based instruction.
Students can lower the sunken monitors, creating an unobstructed sight line to the professor, or raise them to perform complex calculations. Computers can be easily folded away into a flat tabletop.
“Chevy’s spitfire, energetic personality translated into a passionate professor who loved interacting with her students,” says Samir Anz, chemistry professor and a former colleague. “She wanted students to find their voice, and this computational lab creates an environment where this can happen. Technology does not get in the way; it spurs dialogue in the classroom and enhances the learning process.”
The computational classroom has walls filled with the latest WI smart projector technology, loaded with top curriculum software. The three LCD, touch-enabled interactive projector is first-generation technology not seen in many classrooms. The projector makes it easy to draw and interact using any wall, and have that information turn into a real-time document so it can be shared on multiple devices.
“From the type of computers and the selection of science- based software, to the placement of the monitors on the desks, everything in the room was carefully thought out,” says Stephanie Pastor, lab technician in the chemistry department.
Helping students to succeed in the classroom is Perry’s way of paying homage.
“I never understood the work my sister did, and she never understood what I did,” Perry says. “What I did understand was my sister’s love of teaching and how proud my parents were of her. This lab will represent her vivacious and lively personality.”