Academics :: School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Chemistry Department

The discipline of chemistry has been referred to as the "central science" due to its relationships to the more mathematical disciplines (mathematics, engineering and physics) and to the conceptual disciplines (biology, pharmacology and geology).  Chemistry uses the principles of the scientific method which develops students' abilities to collect, process and analyze data, then make conclusions based upon their analyses.  Quantification of data and its subsequent processing is vital in the analysis of chemical reactions, in terms of materials, energy and containment.  The mathematical principles throughout chemistry emphasize the concepts of problem-solving, reproducibility, interpolation and extrapolation.  The ability of the student to take a word problem and write an equation, either mathematical or chemical, is critical to the success of students.  Critical thinking is one of the most important concepts in science, and through the use of experimentation, this engages the student to move beyond the textbook and notes and aids in developing their cognitive reasoning abilities.  Qualitative analysis focuses on the ability to use observables to make conclusions.

Today, chemists enjoy a rich field of diversity, from the heavens (astrochemistry) to the depths of the ocean (marine chemistry), and even to the center of the Earth (geochemistry).  One of the more prevalent fields gaining ground every day is green chemistry, which is the study of chemistry that attempts to reduce the production of harmful chemicals, thereby making a more positive impact on the environment. 

Contact Information

Department Head

Lanette Upshaw
Assistant Professor, Chemistry
lupshaw@virginiawestern.edu
540-857-6299 | Fralin Center HP319

M.S. Chemistry – University of Georgia – 2007
B.S. Chemistry – University of North Carolina, Wilmington – 2003

School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

540-857-7273
Anderson 114

Student Testimonial Banner

VWCC Alerts

We use VW Alert to immediately contact you during a major crisis or emergency.

Get more info and register