Applied Chemistry a New Option for WVSU Students


Applied Chemistry a New Option for WVSU Students
Prepares Students for Chemical Industry Jobs 

INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- In response to employment needs in West Virginia and across the nation, West Virginia State University has added a degree option in Applied Chemistry that will prepare its graduates for work in the chemical industry. 

According to a recent report in Chemical and Engineering News many industrial employers lamented how new hires have no experience with chemistry in an industrial setting. To address this opportunity to prepare its students to enter the workforce fully qualified, members of the WVSU Chemistry department met with several leaders of the chemical industry in the Kanawha Valley to develop the new degree option. The result? The Applied Chemistry option will increase emphasis on laboratory research, communication, and “Green Chemistry”—often referred to as environmentally sustainable chemistry.

WVSU will be among first universities in the country to require a course in sustainable chemistry for all who graduate with a degree option in Applied Chemistry, according to Dr. John Warner, president of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry.

Others courses, such as environmental toxicology, will help alleviate what has been discussed as a deficiency in chemical education.  This deficiency pertains to educating the next generation of chemists to understand how chemistry is used to make products that better society and what happens to the product at the end of its lifespan.  The way in which a product degrades or persists in the environment could cause long-term ramifications—a part of the science that has long been ignored.

Students who pursue the Applied Chemistry option will conduct independent research with one of the Chemistry professors.  These students will also have the opportunity to utilize new equipment such as WVSU's new 400 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer and the high-performance computing system.  Eligible students may be placed in an industrial practicum with a local employer, in their junior or senior year, to enhance their laboratory skills and education.

“I think it’s good that the chemistry department at West Virginia State University is thinking about not just educating new chemistry graduates but also training them to be better equipped for a job in industry,” stated  Dr. Kevin DiGregorio, executive director of the Chemical Alliance Zone, and one of the key advisers to the Applied Chemistry program. “We need a strong workforce to maintain and grow the chemical industry across the state, and the Applied Chemistry option is one of several key workforce training initiatives that are underway.” 

The applied chemistry degree option is one example of how WVSU is serving West Virginia by meeting the needs for economic growth and job training.  Dr. Micheal Fultz, assistant professor of Chemistry said, “By taking this action, the Chemistry Department at WVSU is expanding opportunities for students as well as responding to industry needs. From my perspective that’s a win-win for everyone.”   In addition to Applied  Chemistry, WVSU offers Chemistry options for fields in the industrial, academic, or medical professions.

Students and employers interested in the Applied Chemistry program may contact Dr. Micheal Fultz, WVSU assistant professor of Chemistry, at 304-766-3106 or at

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