College’s lab improvements are celebrated

Nov 03, 2011

DelVal biology, chemistry and food science students this fall came back to very different looking science labs.

Students in Room 104 of the Mandell Science Building can now watch their professor move diagrams around on a giant touch screen with two smaller side screens. The side screens can show the same thing as the main screen or something different. A projector allows small experiments to be shown on a screen.

Faculty can draw and erase right on the middle touch screen to mark up a diagram in class.

“A far cry from 1971-1975,” Maureen Dwyer Selvage ’75 wrote on the college Facebook page when she saw photos of the new labs.

The updated labs in Mandell opened to students at the start of the fall semester. Biology, chemistry and food science labs all have gotten some exciting updates.

“The college’s strategic plan calls on us to take our academic programs to a new level of excellence,” said Dr. Benjamin E. Rusiloski, dean of Business, Education, Arts and Sciences. “These laboratory renovations are an important component of this initiative. They will provide our students with laboratory research experiences that will improve teaching and learning and, at the same time, provide professional development opportunities for our faculty that will enhance their scholarly pursuits.”

On Oct. 25, a celebratory reception was held so all members of the college community could see the labs.

The college updated Mandell 104 (chemistry), Mandell 215 (biology), and Mandell 214 (interdisciplinary/ student research) with a $707,569 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Mandell 211 and 212 also were renovated using a $150,000 gift from the Mandell Foundation.

The biology and chemistry labs all have new casework, fume hoods, windows, ceilings, floors and lights. Mandell 214 also got a new incubator and a new growth chamber.

Mandell 104 will be used for biochemistry and student research. 

Mandell 214 will be used for student research. Mandell 215 will be used for botany, histology, embryology, senior seminar and student research. Mandell 211 and 212 will be used for analytical chemistry, instrumental analysis, physical chemistry and inorganic synthesis.

The updates to the food science labs were funded internally.  Student Initiative Funds were used for the improvements.

Dr. Robert Pierson, chair of DelVal’s of Food Science, Nutrition, & Management department, said the food science labs are not quite complete, but very close.



He said that food science labs were renovated extensively. Food science updates include items such as new scientific islands, a dehydrator, a vacuum packer, new tables and chairs, flat screen TVs, a new sink, a new stove, and more. The rooms were also freshly painted.

Dr. Pierson said the labs have been used extensively by the food science courses.

Some of the updated labs will be dedicated to student-faculty research, for some others student faculty research will be a component of the use.

“More inquiry based investigations are now taking place as part of the laboratory experience for our students,” said Dr. Rusiloski.