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Good Chemistry


Whether she’s studying gas chromatography at ONU or working in an Austrian research lab, Danielle Slomberg knows the language of chemistry. The senior chemistry major from Las Vegas, Nev., has conducted two full-scale research projects on campus, taken her work abroad with an internship in Graz, Austria, and now she’s gearing up to present her research at the 235th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in April.

“I hope to work in a lab setting when I graduate, specifically in analytical chemistry, so the idea of gaining a variety of diverse research experience is very appealing to me,” Slomberg explained.

Last year Slomberg proved she could take professional initiative when she found and applied for a 10-week research internship in Austria at the Graz University of Technology.

“I came across the opportunity through the National Science Foundation. Eighty people applied and only 10 were accepted, so it was certainly a long shot.”

Slomberg’s gamble paid off. Arriving in Austria in June, she worked at the university preparing fluorescent pH sensors for biological and marine applications.

“Ultimately, my experience shows I’m adaptable and able to put myself into unfamiliar situations and produce quality work.”

As a result of her hard work, Slomberg was called upon by Syracuse University to share her research and give a cultural presentation with the other nine students who studied in Austria.

Additionally, she will be presenting her research, entitled “Luminescent Nanobeads for Optical Sensing and the Imaging of pH,” at the prestigious American Chemical Society meeting this spring in New Orleans, La.

Just because she’s back at ONU does not mean she has put away her lab coat. Slomberg is continuing to work with her research advisor, Dr. Christopher Bowers, assistant professor of chemistry, on two in-house research projects.

Last winter Slomberg developed a series of tests to determine if benzotriazole, a potentially toxic anti-corrosive agent present in dishwashing solutions, is left on dishes. This year her focus is testing well water samples for pesticides.

As Danielle’s mentor, Prof. Bowers helps her develop her research projects and gives her practical advice.

“I work with Danielle to find common interests, keeping in mind our capabilities on campus,” Bowers explained. “This year we wanted to work with the new Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) technology, so that was definitely a factor.”

The research process is modeled after a graduate school approach, meaning Bowers is always present as a guide, but Slomberg also learns how to conduct research independently.

When it comes to exploring opportunities within chemistry, Slomberg shows dedication and ingenuity.

“We encourage our chemistry students to get involved in the profession,” remarked Bowers. “With her combination of research, study abroad experience, and presentations, Danielle has really proven herself to be a top student.”

Written by Autumn Steiner
Junior, professional writing
Bluffton, Ohio