MUNCIE, IN– The science labs at Ivy Tech Community College Muncie-Henry County impact the college across the Schools and Campuses statewide. The space, located in the lower level of the John and Janice Fisher Building at 345 South High Street, Muncie, IN 47305, is set up to run high-level chemistry and biology classes.
Organic chemistry, a class that holds interest for students wanting to go into pre-med has been one of the highlights of the 2023 spring semester. Students travel from across the state to take the course. Kylar Kavanaugh is one such student. She is currently a student in the Chemistry program at the Ivy Tech Lafayette campus. She travels to Muncie, a four hour round trip, for the organic chemistry class weekly.
“I have been so impressed with the quality of education at Ivy Tech. When I first found out I had to make the two-hour drive to Muncie every week, I was dreading it, but at this point I look forward to coming to lab. I was blown away by the quality of the space, especially compared to the chemistry labs at other locations. I feel like my passion for chemistry is encouraged and it has reignited my excitement for learning,” Kavanaugh said.
Campus administration made it a priority to provide safe and well-equipped laboratory spaces for students when the renovation to the Fisher Building was completed. Dr. Aaron Goodpaster, Department Chair for Life and Physical Sciences and Associate Professor in Chemistry was dedicated to upgrading the downtown labs to incorporate as many classes as possible. Through careful planning and expenditures, the science labs were outfitted with high tech and high-end chemistry equipment such as seven fume hoods, a gas chromatography instrument, refractometer, and rotary evaporator.
“I am humbled that I was able to have a small part in bringing such great learning spaces and equipment to the Muncie-Henry County campus. I know this investment in the community will help foster student learning and engagement in the sciences for the next several decades,” Goodpaster said.
Improvements were also made for the biology labs with high-end microscopes and an outdoor lab space that will aid biology students in completing their degree. Carly Lehman is a biology major with Ivy Tech Muncie-Henry County. She is graduating this May from Ivy Tech and plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in biology by 2025. She has been on the Ivy Tech Muncie-Henry County campus since it was located primarily on Cowan Road.
Lehman said, “These new labs have completely changed my experience as a student. The old labs on Cowan Road got the job done but that was about it. They also didn’t have nearly as much space or equipment and essentially no natural light. These new labs in the Fisher Building are amazing! There is so much more equipment and space. There were some labs we were unable to fulfill in person at the Cowan Road labs due to lack of equipment so we would have to find a different way to perform them. As a hands-on learner, I need as much of a tangible experience as possible. These new labs provide me with the experience I need to move through my degree at my best.”
The science labs are not only used for biology and chemistry majors. Nursing, health sciences, and general studies students also use the lab space. Future educators who are enrolled in the Ivy Tech Transfer as a Junior Pathway use the labs as well. Individuals interested in teaching in the chemistry or biology fields are afforded a high-tech education in the labs before completing their degree and transferring to a four-year partner as a junior.
“Secondary Education students take their first two years toward a teaching degree with Ivy Tech, then transfer to a four-year university to complete their bachelor’s degree and any other requirements to become a licensed teacher,” Dr. Sarah Haisley, Department Chair for Elementary and Special Education, said.
Students planning upon transferring to a 4-year university to study pre-med, education majors specializing in biology or chemistry, health science majors requiring a safe lab space to perform dissections, or general studies students planning on transferring to a 4-year university all use these labs to conduct experiments in a well-lit, ventilated space where they can safely learn. Many of these students remain locally, taking positions in quality control, education, and other careers where science provides a firm foundation for the future.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.