B.S., M.S., Syracuse University
Amanda M. McCarthySenior Instructor in Chemistry Laboratory
Involved in teaching and developing both introductory and organic chemistry laboratories.
As a graduate student, my research was in the area of environmental chemistry. I concentrated on the search for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the sediment of Lake Champlain. PCBs were used extensively in industry due to their non-flammability and heat-resistant properties. They were used as lubricants, transformers, capacitors, and petroleum additives, but they were banned in the early 1970s after they were found to pose a significant health threat to humans and other consumers of fish which bioaccumulate PCBs. PCBs are now found throughout the environment in fish, water, sediment, and soil. So it is of great interest to find where these environmental contaminants are located. To do this one needs to understand aquatic chemistry and analytical techniques, as well as how organic molecules behave in aqueous environments. In addition, I also looked for pesticides, hydrocarbons, chlorobenzenes, and other organic environmental contaminants in Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, N.Y.
My role at Wellesley as a laboratory instructor has centered on organic chemistry laboratory. I have taught labs for both Organic Chemistry I and II several times. However, I have also taught introductory laboratories including Intensive Introductory Chemistry, Fundamentals of Chemistry, as well as Chemical Analysis and Equilibrium. I have been quite active in teaching for the Wellesley College Summer School as well. In addition to teaching, I also enjoy modifying and developing new experiments for all courses that I have been involved in.
In my free time I enjoy a variety of activities. In the winter, my family skis every weekend at our favorite mountain, Mad River Glen in Vermont. In the spring and summer months, we enjoy hiking and camping. I also love music of any kind (jazz, bluegrass, classical, rock, etc). I play the flute and piccolo in the Southeastern Massachusetts Community Concert Band (SMCCB).