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Chemistry Professor Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

Oct 01, 2015

Chemistry professor April Marchetti April Marchetti '97, the Randolph-Macon College Garnett-Lambert Endowed Professor in Chemistry, has been awarded a grant from The National Science Foundation. The five-year, $1,199,276 grant is the largest single grant in the history of Randolph-Macon College.

The grant will support a project entitled "The Randolph-Macon College Noyce Teacher/Scholar Program - A Program Designed to Recruit, Train, and Support Well-Qualified Chemistry, Biology, and Physics Teachers."  The project is under the direction of Marchetti, as well as Professors Diana Yesbeck (education) Traci Stevens (biology) and Rachele Dominguez (physics).

Scholarships, Internships, Science Camps
The grant will support several initiatives.

It will establish a program that will provide 16-18 full scholarships to Randolph-Macon College students who wish to pursue a chemistry, biology or physics major in conjunction with an education minor. These full-tuition scholarships are supported significantly by the college. During their time at Randolph-Macon, students will be housed together on campus and receive special training into the incorporation of technology into the classroom. They will also participate in the college's unique Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. Upon graduation, program participants agree to teach in an at-risk school district for four years.

The grant will also fund 12-week internships at Maymont Park, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, and the Science Museum of Virginia. In addition, the grant will support the development of one-week science day camps for 5th graders and middle school students.

"I'm thrilled that we have been awarded this grant," says Marchetti. "It's a huge win for Randolph-Macon College and a huge win for the Commonwealth, where about 14 percent of all the jobs to be filled in the next four years are expected to involve STEM (science, technology, education and mathematics) in some fashion, yet fewer options are available to high school students for STEM instruction. The group of chemistry, biology, and physics teachers we'll be recruiting and training are needed desperately in our local high-need schools." 

April Marchetti '97
Marchetti, who earned her B.S. from Randolph-Macon College and her Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University, joined the faculty in 2001. She teaches general, analytical and instrumental chemistry; some of her most popular courses are Chemistry and Crime: From Sherlock Holmes to Today's Courtroom (for non-science majors) and Forensic Chemistry (for science majors).

In 2009, she developed a curriculum to facilitate students entering the field of education with majors in chemistry, and she serves as a mentor and advisor to students who elect teaching as a career. Marchetti's research interests include analytical chemistry, polymer chemistry, forensic chemistry and NMR analysis. In 2006 she was part of a research team that won a U.S. patent for a groundbreaking discovery in the field of polymers, "Photo-imageable Compositions of Norbornene and Acrylate Copolymers."

Marchetti was instrumental in developing new chemistry introductory courses at R-MC that meet students at their level of knowledge, and she has led innovation in using iPads in the classroom. She is also an innovator in additional blended-learning techniques such as the flipped classroom, which reverses the traditional educational arrangement by delivering instructional content outside of the classroom.

Marchetti serves as vice-president of the Phi Beta Kappa Zeta Chapter, which was recognized in 2009 as the most outstanding chapter at a liberal arts college in the United States. She also serves as faculty secretary for Omicron Delta Kappa, the college's leadership honorary organization.