Chemistry and Biochemistry

In the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Elizabethtown College, we learn by doing. We engage students in understanding how chemistry impacts and shapes the world around us and offer a supportive learning environment that advances our students' career and life goals.

Explore Your Interests

We know that your areas of interest are far and wide. We offer two departmental majors, Chemistry and Biochemistry, with concentrations in Forensic Chemistry, Chemistry Secondary Education, Chemistry Management, and Chemical Physics. The Chemistry and Biochemistry majors are accredited by the American Chemical Society, and both majors serve as great foundational bases for students on a Pre-Medicine, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, Pre-Pharmacy or Pre-Dental track.

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Real World Learning

Your course work will include interactive classroom experiences, lab classes and hands-on research opportunities. Don your lab coat and protective eyewear and participate in experiments in our up-to-date lab and research facilities in Musser Hall, part of the Masters Center for Science, Mathematics and Engineering. We teach use of lab instrumentation very early in our curriculum. Students get exposed to and actually use instrumentation in their first year, thus giving our students a competitive edge when applying for internships and summer research experiences.

Research and experiential learning are the cornerstones of the discipline. You can begin independent research with a faculty mentor as early as your first year! Fundamental research is incorporated into our teaching labs and carried out with research mentors during the summer and academic semesters. All Chemistry and Biochemistry majors complete an independent research experience during their senior year. Though it is not required for Chemical Education and Chemical Management majors, most student pursuing these concentrations elect to conduct research nonetheless which makes them even more marketable once they head out into the work force


From the Department of Chemistry

Haley Young

Exotic landscapes and unique lifestyle catch the eye of E-town student

Haley Young ’19 studies abroad in Thailand.

For junior Elizabethtown student Haley Young the idea of experiencing a different culture was just the tip of the iceberg, so when the study abroad program to Thailand caught her eye it would prove to be a valuable experience. For one semester Young studied in Bangkok at Mahidol University—known as the best school in Thailand. While studying biochemistry, Thai language, mass communications and developmental psychology, the chemistry major had the opportunity to travel and experience the vast culture of her host country. Young became immersed in the pleasant and approachable people as she met with them, dined with them and spoke with them.

“I can look back on this semester and remember how awesome it was to meet other foreign and Thai students. I experienced a different type of teaching, became more independent and am better at problem solving.”

From the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Lauren Eltringham

Lauren Eltringham welcomed to E-town as transfer student

Conducted Analytical research with DEAN of Faculty

Lauren Eltringham started her undergraduate career as a general chemistry major at a large university with thousands of students. In January 2011, after realizing the school wasn’t for her and figuring out she wanted to study chemistry and education, she transferred to E-town. As a chemistry major with a concentration in secondary education, Eltringham conducted analytical lab research alongside Kristi Kneas, dean for academic affairs and faculty development and professor of chemistry. Eltringham also spent a semester at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham, England, for an experience she described as “life-changing.” Eltringham, who went on to earn her graduate degree at Lebanon Valley College, said Kneas was immensely helpful in negotiating a study-abroad opportunity while completing a rigorous major.

“When I visited E-town, I was quickly welcomed by every faculty member and student that I met.”

From the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Kate Glass

Kate Glass ’16, biochemistry major

Eurofins internship leads to full-time position

In the summer between her junior and senior year, Kate Glass was an intern in the Extractables and Leachables Department of Eurofins Lancaster Labs, where her focus was the study of exposing medical devices and other pharmaceutical devices and containers to various solvents and drug products at different temperatures and environments. Glass now works fulltime at Eurofins, conducting inorganic analyses and training to conduct non-volatile analyses. The new chemistry laboratory sciences major is valuable, she said, in teaching students the foundation of how the industry works and how to document correctly and accurately.

“Before I even interned at Eurofins, I already knew how a gas chromatographer or a mass spectrometer worked because I had analytical chemistry my sophomore year and took an advanced instrumentation class.”

From the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Jeff Rood

Jeff Rood explains chemistry laboratory sciences major

Intentionally focused on students who want to dive directly into chemical industry

Chemists tend to fall into two distinct categories, those who focus on post-graduate work in management, teaching or research and those who want to be more hands-on as bench chemists or in quality control, food science and chemical analysis. Though the basics of the education are the same, those who want to go directly into the work world now have a new degree to consider at Elizabethtown College. The chemistry laboratory sciences major focuses on real-world, hands-on preparation and internship. In fact, the College’s partnership with the rapidly expanding Eurofins Lancaster Labs guarantees junior and senior students internship opportunities and priority consideration for employment.

“The solid foundational preparation of an Elizabethtown chemistry degree has been retained; the impact of an internship has been added.” Jeff Rood, associate professor of chemistry

From the Department of Chemistry

Colby Schweibenz

Colby Schweibenz ’18 researches breast cancer in Ecuador

Biochemistry major visits villages in Amazon.

Colby Schweibenz is spending six months in Quito, Ecuador, studying biology and other sciences at the University of San Francisco de Quito. While there, the senior biochemistry major, who minors in Spanish, had the opportunity to work with the Latitude Zero Ecuador Research Initiative Program. Schweibenz investigates gene expression in breast cancer cells in the Hospital de Las Valles. She also has had the chance to travel the country—seeing a range of wildlife and their habitats in the Amazon and Galapagos.

“I really feel that my time spent here in Ecuador has been such a special experience, and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life.”

Faculty Members Who Care

Our dedicated faculty members believe in relationship-centered learning. From day one, they provide comprehensive advising, mentoring and exploration opportunities to help you determine the best career path and achieve your career ambitions. You will be challenged, but also supported. Mentoring sessions, career counseling, and dinners at instructors' homes are just a few of the ways our faculty stay invested in the lives of our students. As an upper-class student, you can also look forward to giving scientific presentations in the weekly junior senior departmental seminar followed by informal and light-hearted lunches with department faculty and your fellow students!

Setting You Up For Success

Many of our alumni have pursued advanced degrees in graduate or professional school. Our curriculum prepares you for the rigors of advanced studies, not just in scientific knowledge and know-how, but also in the communication of science. Graduates of our program have seen success in programs including Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina, Harvard Medical School, Penn State Hershey School of Medicine, Temple University School of Dentistry, and University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Our students have flourished in careers as forensic scientists, clinical laboratory scientists, industrial hygienists, medical doctors, college professors, pharmacists, attorneys, quality control engineers, nutritionists, business executives, and nuclear submariners. From GlaxoSmithKline and Merck and Company, to Milton S. Hershey School and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, we have a network of alumni across the country who serve as mentors and contacts for our students.