SCE awards Vanguard a grant for STEM Education

Southern California Edison awarded Vanguard University a grant to enhance STEM education on campus. The funded program launches Supplemental Instruction in Organic Chemistry Courses on Campus. Supplemental Instruction is a proven High-Impact Practice shown to demonstrate higher achievement, retention and persistence in the major.

Assessment of STEM students across the nation reveal that many students are marginally prepared for study in the sciences, especially in math (Warner, 2008). This holds true for Vanguard students as well. The goal of this proposal is to overcome these challenges by improving minority student achievement by implementing best-practices in STEM Education through second-year curriculum revision and student support services. This goal will be accomplished through 1) strategic revision of STEM gateway courses to include Supplemental Instruction and 2) expansion of student support and tutorial opportunities within Vanguard’s Office for Student Success and Tutorial Services and will be assessed by increasing retention and graduation rates.

Vanguard is looking forward to partnering with SCE to improve STEM education. It is anticipated that approximately 35 students will directly benefit each semester for this one-year project.



2016 Undergraduate Research Projects Announced!


Jenny Cybulski (’14) and Amber Barnes (’15) collecting phytoplankton samples with Prof. Jayme Smith (’10) during SURP 2013.

Undergraduate research (UR) is a dynamic entity that is drastically different from the type graduate research that occurs at major research institutions. It allows students to learn the conventions of research through imitation and practice. It is an essential part of the internal transformation that takes place as a student begins to understand what it means to be a scholar and a researcher.

SURP is the embodiment of UGR. This model is a summer intensive research immersion experience. In an effort to expand UGR across disciplines and spur interdisciplinary projects and cross-pollination among students, SURP has typically included projects from the following departments: Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Sociology for 2016’s SURP. This year’s projects span the topics of Alzhiemer’s, HIV drug-design, drug addition, Biodiversity in the CA Deserts and along the PCT, high-temp geothermal reactions that have implications for chemistry in space, religion and immigration, and nutraceutical validity!

Applications are due March 4th, 2016. Announcements for SURP Fellows will be made on March 11th, 2016.

New Placement Exam is Online NOW

***NEW*** VU SAPLING Chemistry Placement Exam

Courses in the Departments of Chemistry and Biology at any institution is demanding; and Vanguard University is no exception. To help you prepare for college-level chemistry at VU, the Department of Chemistry requires the placement of all incoming students who want to take chemistry (either Chem 112C/L or Chem 120/L), regardless of major. The Placement Exam that the Chemistry Department uses is sponsored through Sapling Learning. Sapling Learning is an online-assessment and homework management system. The placement exam is a free assessment. You will need to create an account (just follow the directions below).

Step 1: Purchase, Create an Account, and Take the Placement Test

1. Go to and click on your country at the top right.      

2a. If you already have a Sapling Learning account, log in and skip to step 3.      
2b. If you have a Facebook account, you can use it to quickly create a Sapling Learning account. Click “Create an Account”, then “Create my account through Facebook”. You will be prompted to log into Facebook if you aren’t already. Choose a username and password, then click “Link Account”. You can then skip to step 3.      
2c. Otherwise, click “Create an Account”. Supply the requested information and click “Create My Account”. Check your email (and spam filter) for a message from Sapling Learning and click on the link provided in that email.      

3. Find your course in the list (you may need to expand the subject and term categories) and click the link. Look for: Vanguard University of Southern California – Pre-Assessment – Fall14 – SIRVENT  

4. If your course requires a key code, you will be prompted to enter it. Keycode: Vanguard 

Physics to be joining Organic Chemistry as a summer school offering!

nuclearfisics_bodyThe Department of Chemistry is offering CHEM 304/L – Organic Chemistry 1 (6/2/2014-7/11/2014) and CHEM 305/L – Organic Chemistry 2 (7/14/2013-8/22/2014) this summer, including the accompanying labs!

PSCI 103/L – General Physics 1 (6/2/2014-7/11/2014) and PSCI 131/L – General Physics 2 (7/14/2013-8/22/2014) are being offered as well. If you are interested in a calculus based physics course, please email If enough students are interested, we will add that series to our summer offering as well!

In addition, we are offering General Chemistry 2 (5/12/2014-6/20/2014) and the accompanying lab.


More detail is listed at the Summer School Page for the Department.

Information on how to register is available here!

For a complete list of summer courses and a complete schedule, click here!

Organic Chemistry to be offered again this summer!

The Department of Chemistry is offering Organic Chemistry 1 (6/3/2013-7/12/2013) and Organic Chemistry 2 (7/15/2013-8/23/2013) this summer, including the accompanying labs! In addition, we are offering General Chemistry 2 (5/13/2013-6/21/2013) and the accompanying lab. Registration is open now!

For a complete list of summer courses and a complete schedule, click here!

Chemistry Placement Exam is NOW Online!

The Department of Chemistry has moved to an Online Placement Exam hosted through ALEKS. ALEKS is an online-assessment and homework management system. Once you purchase access to this web-based program, you will be able to take the Placement Test as well as enroll in the homework activities of your respective Chemsitry course (NOTE: Chem 112C and Chem 120 use this website for homework exercises that are a graded component of your final grade). For more information go to: Chemistry Placement Exams.

You will be directed to take the Online Placement Test on the first day of class if you have already not done so. You will not be allowed into the course until this exam has been completed.

For Questions, please email Dr. Lorance.

Chemistry Professor and Students to Present Research at the National ACS Meeting in March

Three students and one professor will be presenting original research at the National American Chemical Society Meeting in San Diego this March.  Emily Andrews will be presenting a poster titled “Terpene variation in various isolines of Melaleuca alternifolia” and Sanggitha Kusomo with be presenting a poster titled “Optimization of tissue culture in Melaleuca alternifolia”; both are presenting Tuesday afternoon in the General Poster session of the Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.  Chelsea Alfafara will be presenting a poster titled “Developing a genetic screening method for elite germplasm in Melaleuca alternifolia plantlets” in the Undergraduate Poster Session Monday afternoon.  Dr. Ted Lorance will be presenting a talk titled “Computational simulation of decarboxylation in water at high pressure and temperature:  Accuracy, insights, and unexpected results” in the Computational Chemistry for Geochemistry session Sunday afternoon.  Congratulations to these Vanguard scholars!

Chemistry Students asked to Host Undergraduate Social at the National ACS Meeting in March!!

ACS logoThe Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society at Vanguard has been asked to host the Undergraduate Social event at the 241st National American Chemical Society Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA. The event is going to be held on March 27, 2011 from 8:30-11:00pm.

“This is a great opportunity for Vanguard University!” states Dr. Sirvent, Faculty Advisor of the Student Group (known on campus as the SAINTS group). Senior Sara Gunter (Biology ’11) is the chairwoman heading the committee organizing the event. “It should be alot of fun! We want to make it exciting for students and celebrate Chemistry at the same time!” “We are planning an International Theme since 2011 is designated as the International Year of Chemistry,” said Gunter.

Organizational meetings for anyone interested in helping to plan the event occurs on Fridays at 10:00am in Sci Rm 1. All interested students are welcome to attend. For more information about the Undergraduate Programming planned at the meeting, download the schedule.

Title: National ACS Undergraduate Social
Location: Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, CA
Link out: Click here
Description: Undergraduate Social sponsored by ACS and hosted by Vanguard University’s section of the Student Affiliates of the ACS.
Start Time: 20:00
Date: 2011-03-27
End Time: 23:00

Large In-Coming Class for Chemistry!

Large In-Coming Class for Chemistry!The latest numbers are showing a significant increase in the number of students enrolling at VUSC as chemistry majors! Currently there are over 30 new students interested in majoring in Biology or Chemistry! General Chemistry (Chem 120/L) is full and another section has been added! If you came to campus needing to register for Chem 120/L or Chem 112/L, space has now been made available! In addition, to accommodate increased need for Biochemistry (Chem 430/L) a new section of this course has also been added! If you are having difficulty registering or have questions about your course schedule for chemistry, please email Tara Sirvent or Sharon Fissette.

Chemistry Student of the Year 2010 Award

Joshua BixlerJoshua Bixler (’10 Biochemistry Major) was selected as the Vanguard University’s Chemistry Student of the Year for 2010. Josh is a senior who graduated in May 2010. He is planning on matriculating into Graduate school to pursue an advanced degree in Biochemistry so that he can spend his life engaged in biochemical research! Josh has also been very involved in the Vanguard Culture by being President-Elect (2007) and President (’08-’09) for the VUSC’s chapter of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (known on campus as SAINTS). He has also been engaged in Student Ministries, participating in at least two missions trips.