In the end, it was the titration lab that was their downfall in the Battle of the Chem Clubs.
Senior Andrea Lee, a biochemistry major, was the only member of the five-person team that had taken analytical chemistry, and that was over a year ago.
“In a titration lab, you’re trying to find the concentration of a basic solution,” Lee said. “We were pretty close. I was pretty proud of us.”
Although the Hillsdale College chapter of the American Chemical Society didn’t quite make it to the playoffs at the annual Battle of the Chem Clubs, they did tie for seventh place overall.
Twelve schools attended this year’s battle, which included events like a puzzle of the periodic table and chemistry-themed charades. Hillsdale was in third place going into the final event before lunch, but having to re-learn titration on the spot pushed their time to the limit.
Their accuracy, though, was impeccable.
“To be honest, I had low expectations for us,” Lee, the president of the chapter, said. “We had a small team, and we didn’t have a lot of upperclassmen with us.”
The chapter brought one freshman, two sophomores, one junior, and one senior to the battle.
“We’ve been doing this for a while,” junior biochemistry major Christine Ausherman said. “It’s a really nerdy title, but it’s great.”
Associate Professor of Chemistry and chapter adviser Christopher Hamilton said one of the main benefits of the event is being able to make good connections.
“It helps students interact with peers at other institutions,” Hamilton said.
“It’s a way for all the ACS chapters to come together for some friendly competition,” she said.
Hillsdale has only missed two battles since the event started 11 years ago. The chapter normally take between 10 and 15 students, but could only bring five this year, due to outside conflicts.
“We did really well, considering we had only five people,” Ausherman said.
Hamilton said he hopes to take a larger group again next year.
“We definitely foresee doing this again in the future,” Hamilton said. “Hopefully we get a large group together and take home the trophy.”