General Chemistry Lab Coordinator

Degrees: B.S., Youngstown State University; M.S., Kent State University

Mrs. Whitworth joined the department in June 1992. She began her career as an industrial chemist during the start-up of North Star Steel in Youngstown, Ohio. After transferring to Cleveland, she entered into the field of water analyses and treatment with the Dexter Mogul Corporation and went on to investigate the effects of ozone in treating drinking water at the Shenango Valley Water Company. In 1989, Mrs. Whitworth took a year to pursue her M.A. in Education, after which she taught high school chemistry and math. Once again, returning to industry, she performed research in the pulping and bleaching for papermaking at Quantum Technologies. Using her extensive experience in industry and education, she teaches all sections of the General Chemistry Laboratory sequence, an outcome-based, challenging course designed to provide students with the intellectual, experimental, and interactive skills needed to participate effectively in future science classes. This rigorous program engages the student in the molecular perspective of chemistry and encourages an informed understanding of the processes through hands-on experimentation. The students develop the ability to work safely in a laboratory environment, to communicate through oral and written expression, to work effectively as members of a team, to ask critical questions, to design simple experiments, and to interpret results with error analyses within the context of their current scientific knowledge. Rather than provide traditional textbook experiments, Mrs. Whitworth rewrote laboratory instructions to provide an inquiry-based approach to scientific learning. She compiled these lessons, many of which have been adopted by the Honors General Chemistry Lab course, into a comprehensive manual. Furthermore, the course facilitates the evolving capabilities of technology through digital data collection.

By developing the course content and delivering the material, Mrs. Whitworth fosters an open dialogue with students and provides them the opportunity for successful completion of the course. The laboratory lecture accommodates a variety of learning styles and seeks to engage students through a learner-centered approach. She produced and edited short video lectures viewed by students at home before the lab session. As a result, she reserves time in lab for completing the experiment, analyzing the data and discussing the results. She also seeks to employ Ignatian pedagogy, continually assessing the laboratory curriculum to ensure that it reflects the level and needs of current students. Hence, experiments and topics continue to be improved. Mrs. Whitworth implements a lab practical at the end of the course sequence to measure student mastery of laboratory techniques and applications.

Outside of the laboratory, Mrs. Whitworth mentors and advises current and former students and promote student vocational discernment.  In an effort to excite students about chemistry and encourage them to be chemistry majors, she invites open discussion about course topics and its relation to current issues in the field of science. She provides work-study opportunities for approximately twenty students each semester as teaching assistants for her labs, and provides them with support, knowledge and direction to assist in better job performance.