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Professor Gives Arnow Lecture on Scientific Inquiry and the Core Curriculum

April 28, 2016

Chemistry Professor Kim Farah, Lasell's current Joan Weiler Arnow '49 Professor, spends a lot of time thinking about data, analysis, problem solving and results. She wants her students to focus on this too.

Scientific Inquiry and its place in Lasell's new Core Curriculum was the subject of Farah's annual Arnow lecture held April 26 in de Witt Hall.

Farah's talk, Theory into Practice: Scientific Inquiry and the Lasell Core Curriculum, described the courses currently offered as part of the curriculum that focus on an inquiry-based experimental approach.

"Really, science is a process. It's a series of moving forward and coming back [to solve problems]," said Farah in her lecture.

The new Lasell College Core Curriculum was initiated with the incoming 2014 freshmen class. As part of the new core, students learn to use four knowledge perspectives (Aesthetics & Creativity, Scientific Inquiry & Problem Solving, Global & Historical, and the Individual & Society) to understand and solve problems they will encounter in their professional and personal lives.

Among the experiments initiated by students as part of Farah's courses this year were a temperature study on the conditions in Wass Hall, a study of the life span of brine shrimp in various conditions and experiments as part of a new course on the Chemistry of Art and Fashion.

Lasell senior and Fashion Communication major Rosemary Leger described the experiment she initiated as part of that class to determine a recipe for an all-natural nail polish.

Leger described her experiments with various natural colors made from herbs as well as the different bases for the nail polish, her process and then her results.

"The course pushed me out of my comfort zone in a good way," said Leger. "Learning the chemical side of fashion was really interesting."

Farah ended her talk highlighting her goal to engage students in the inquiry and assessment process as they move through their education at Lasell as well as best practices for researching current literature.

"It's important for our next generation of science students," she said.