Chemical Education is GOLDEN

25th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education
hosted by the University of Notre Dame, July 29 - August 2, 2018


Sponsored by:













Conference Plenary Speakers


There and back again: Celebrating the impact and influence of 25 BCCE conferences on the chemistry education community

Sunday evening keynote plenary speaker, Compton Ice Arena

Marcy H. Towns, is a Professor of Chemistry and Director of General Chemistry at Purdue University. In 2017 she received both the ACS Award for Achievement in Research for the Teaching and Learning of Chemistry and the most prestigious award the ACS offers for excellence in teaching, the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement (AAAS) 2009, and a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS) 2012. She received the Society of College Science Teachers and National Science Teacher’s Association 2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teaching Award. She has won Purdue University’s most prestigious honors for teaching including The Class of 1922 Outstanding Innovation in Helping Students Learn Award (2015) and the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (2013). She also received the chemistry department’s most prestigious honor for teaching, the Arthur B. Kelly Award in 2013. She has held a number of elected and appointed positions in American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Division of Chemical Education including the Chair in 2015 and a 9-year membership on the ACS Examinations Institute Board of Trustees. She has over 80 publications, over 2000 citations, and over 100 international and national presentations. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Chemical Education, focusing on manuscripts pertaining to chemistry education research.

Marcy has been the PI or Co-PI of a number of discipline based education grants, including National Science Foundation grants which fund and support her group’s research on undergraduate chemistry laboratory, and student understanding of kinetics; thermodynamics, and the chemistry of climate science.

She has served in university roles associated with undergraduate education including the university’s core curriculum council, a task force to revise teaching evaluations, and is one of two faculty athletic representatives to the Big 10 and NCAA. Finally, she is passionate about making a difference in her community and serves as a distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables to section 8 housing complexes from June through October through the Veggie Drop..




What Would You Fight For?

Monday morning plenary speakers, 101DeBartolo Hall

Jennifer Tank, Professor of Biology, University of Notre Dame. When toxins from algal blooms contaminated Toledo, Ohio’s water supply in 2014, residents found themselves in the midst of a drinking water crisis. Spanning from Lake Erie to Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, algal blooms caused in part by fertilizer runoff from lawns and farms are becoming a critical threat to freshwater resources.

Professor Jennifer Tank is conducting research to help farmers across the country make positive changes to solve this widespread challenge. As the Galla Professor of Biological Sciences, she is studying the benefits of farming techniques designed to keep nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus on fields, where farmers need them. Tank’s research has the potential to find water quality solutions that are a win-win for both farmers and the environment.

Marya Lieberman, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame. In Eldoret, Kenya, the harm imposed by substandard or counterfeit medicine is all too real. Unscrupulous manufacturers or distributors replace expensive medicines with cheaper, less effective ones - or even worthless maize meal or chalk. Each year, counterfeit and substandard medicines kill more than 300,000 people worldwide.

In most countries, health care providers lack the financial and technical resources to properly test drugs for authenticity. But new technology being developed by a team led by Professor Marya Lieberman of Notre Dame and Professor Toni Barstis of Saint Mary's College can make testing available for just pennies per use. The high-tech paper test cards use colorimetric chemistry to measure the presence of certain ingredients. By simply swiping a pill across the card and dipping the paper into water, distinctive color codes appear within minutes to reveal whether or not a drug is genuine.

Ryan Roeder, Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame. In the United States alone, there are nearly 240,000 breast cancer diagnoses each year. To date, mammograms are the best diagnostic technology for breast cancer, but there are still almost 50,000 missed diagnoses every year. That’s where Notre Dame engineering professor Ryan K. Roeder comes in. Roeder has devised a way in which gold nanoparticles can be injected into the breast and attach to indicators of cancer, like microcalcifications. Because gold is a heavy metal, in an X-ray or mammogram it will be seen clearly, even in dense tissue. The gold nanoparticles can also be attached to antibodies which target specific receptors on cancer cells, such as HER2, which are overexpressed in certain types of breast cancer. Roeder hopes physicians will be able to target the tumor cells themselves to make more precise diagnoses and monitor tumor growth and metastasis. With luck, partnerships and persistence, the best way to think pink may involve thinking gold.  

Paul Bohn, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame. When physicians heard a presentation by Paul Bohn and Norm Dovichi of Notre Dame’s Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics Initiative at a Cleveland Clinic Alliance meeting, they believed a better solution for the high mortality rate caused by sepsis could be around the corner. Professor Bohn, the Arthur J. Schmitt Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Professor Dovichi, the Grace Rupley Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, are developing technology which will enable doctors to diagnose sepsis in a patient sooner, allowing for earlier, and potentially lifesaving, treatment. By partnering with Tracey and his team at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, they’re able to test true samples for protein and molecular clues that could eventually lead to better diagnostics and help solve the problem of sepsis.



Challenging Binary Thinking in STEM Education

Tuesday morning plenary speaker, 101DeBartolo Hall

Dr. Jacob Clark Blickenstaff has had a life-long passion for science education. He has had the experience as a classroom teacher, teacher educator, science education professor, program manager, and grant writer. His interests include identifying new avenues to help science teachers break through socio-economic, ethnic and gender barriers in their teaching to help all students have access to high quality science education. He champions that the under-representation of women and minorities in science is a critical issue for our nation.

In his most recent positions he leverages networks of professional development providers, informal educators, state officials, and business supporters to provide research-based professional development to teachers and teacher leaders. As a trained physicist, he has worked with the American Physical Society to bring physicists and physics education researchers together with teachers and teacher candidates all across the US. With Washington State LASER, he has coordinated efforts across the state of Washington to implement the Next Generation Science Standards with fidelity.

Additionally, Dr. Blickenstaff has an unconventional role in promoting science education equity – as a movie critic. In “Blick on Flicks,” a regular column in NSTA Reports, Dr. Blickenstaff helps turn "bad science" into teachable science for middle level and high school students. Blickenstaff reviews current movies and transforms Hollywood “bad science” into teachable science for middle school and high school students. He has critiqued films such as The Happening, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and even The Devil Wears Prada, and Twilight to help teachers engage young women in science. Available online in both text and podcast format, “Blick on Flicks” is published in NSTA WebNews at www.nsta.org/publications/blickonflicks.aspx.



The Disappearing Spoon: And other true tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements.

Wednesday morning plenary speaker, 101 Debartolo Hall

Sam Kean is a writer in Washington, D.C. His stories have appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, and Psychology Today, and his work has been featured on “Radiolab ” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” One of his most recent articles can be found in The Atlantic, “The Chemist Who Thought He Could Harness Hurricanes,”, a story about how Irving Langmuir’s ill-fated attempts at seeding storms showed just how difficult it is to control the weather.

He has written numerous books including that The Disappearing Spoon (fascinating tales that follow every element on the table), The Violinist’s Thumb (exploring the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA), The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons (tales of the brain and the history of neuroscience), and Caesar’s Last Breath, (the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it).

Plenary Sessions


The conference organizers attempted to provide a series of plenary presentations with a wide interest. We hope that you take advantage of these sessions to expand your horizons....


DivCHED Rule on Recordings at BCCE 2018

1) The use of any device to capture, stream, upload or rebroadcast speakers or presentations to any public media site or network is strictly prohibited without the express written consent of the Division of Chemical Education.

2) Unless expressly prohibited by the symposium organizer or presenter, cameras, camera phones, and tablet cameras may only be used to:

  • capture images of presenters and other participants at the end of presentations with appropriate permissions of those photographed
  • capture images used in note taking apps as long as the notes are for personal use and are not shared with any other individual or posted on any electronic or hardcopy sites

3) Any other use is strictly prohibited at all official ACS meetings and events without the express written consent from the ACS.

Please respect the authorscopyrights and intellectual property.

Contact us:


Phone: 574-631-2302

Email: bcce2018@nd.edu


Dr. Steven Wietstock
General Chair, BCCE 2018
331 Jordan Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

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The University of Notre Dame