No Lecture halls but a new master’s program: HCAMS update

Dr.Steve Berry. Photo courtesy of UMD

Dr.Steve Berry. Photo courtesy of UMD

The Heikkila Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science (HCAMS) building is open for use by students and staff. While the official opening ceremony is to be this summer, staff has begun moving over and the student study spaces are open. Instructional lab classes will be held in the space next semester (Fall 2019).  Also this fall will be the beginning of a new graduate program at UMD- a master’s in Advanced Material Science.

The nearly $30 million building will be a vast upgrade compared to the old UMD chemistry building built in the late 1940s. The upgrades are coming in the form of many laboratories and study lounges. No formal classrooms fit the plan of the HCAMS building.

“This building has no lecture halls,” said Dr. Steve Berry, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “It’s only instructional lab, like quantitative analysis, and environmental chemistry teaching labs and then inorganic chemistry labs, physical chemistry labs and instrumental analysis labs.”

He continued that the space will hold five to six lab classes this fall and be home to a dozen research laboratories. A few of these are set up and ready for use now but the rest will be moved in over the rest of this spring and early summer.

Given the large quantity of labs, HCAMS will become home to a new master’s degree program. HCAMS will house the Advanced Materials Science offices. According to Berry the master’s program will assist chemistry majors in learning engineering and engineers in learning chemistry.

One of the student study spaces. Photo by Eema Ibrahim

One of the student study spaces. Photo by Eema Ibrahim

“It brings together engineers who do material testing, how strong is a material, how well does it weather, what's its tensile strength, these types of things that chemists don’t know,” said Berry. “On the other hand it’s the chemists that make the materials and synthesize them. So it’s our understanding that there’s a lot of materials in Minnesota and a lot of industrial companies in Northern Minnesota… they’ve told us a lot of students that graduate are really good at chemistry or they’re really good at engineering but they like people who can speak both languages.”

The Advanced Materials Science program will open this fall at UMD with the aim to bring together the programs into an industrial setting.

Another part of the HCAMS building that Berry and other faculty are excited about are the student study lounges. There are two lounges on each floor that are full of windows and natural light. These are currently open and available for students to use.

HCAMS official opening will happen this August and lab classes will be held this fall. To stay up to date on more HCAMS news see the link below.

NewsHeidi Stang