From Test Kitchen to Chemistry Lab…

Fischer & Wieser commands a cadre of very impressive individuals, none more so than our own Dr. Jenny Wieser, Ph. D., Chief Operating Officer, who saw a need for students at Fredericksburg Christian School here in Fredericksburg, Texas

Dietz Fischer, Cooper Dolan, and Kevin Sawyer wait as the solvent heats up.

to experience a lab situation in their high school chemistry class. Wieser received her Ph. D. in biology (Molecular Genetics) in 1997 from Texas A & M University. During her years in graduate school, she taught freshman and cell biology labs, and as such is uniquely cognizant of the importance of lab experience for high school students before they reach the college or university setting. Commenting on her reason for volunteering to teach the class, Wieser stated, “It’s vital to give these students a lab experience, so when they walk into a freshman college or university chemistry or biology lab, they won’t feel overwhelmed.”

Jenny Wieser explains the correct method needed to read the thermometer while the solvent heats up, after the addition of the solute.

When the school’s director, Mrs. Linda Williams, asked Wieser to teach a lab chemistry class, she knew it would be a challenge, working with limited equipment and facilities.That facility turned out to be the test kitchen at Fischer & Wieser’s manufacturing site, several miles from the main campus of the school. But, having served in the Peace Corps from 1987-89 in St. Kitts, teaching 5th-9th grade students math, science, geometry, and literature—this was no real impediment.

Recently the students were engaged in an experiment to determine how adding a solvent into a solute alters the boiling point of the solute. The 5 students in the class consist of 2 girls and 3 boys, ranging from freshmen through juniors. The reasons they chose the course vary, but go from “it’s required” to “I plan to become an engineer, (major in aeronautical science, major in science), and will need this in college,” to “it’s fun!…I love science!”

Caitlan Schmidt and Lauren Langehennig look on as Jenny explains safely handling the heated beaker of solvent.

Wieser knows that this Fischer & Wieser test kitchen lab is just a start, and hopes to work with the students this summer to convert a storage shed on the campus into a lab. “We’ll need proper lab sinks, fume hoods, gas outlets for bunsen burners, and more, but hope to create a lab set-up that will allow teachers to conduct chemistry labs on the Fredericksburg Christian School site,” states Wieser. Fischer & Wieser has donated $4,000 to the school in order to make this goal a reality.

Mrs. Williams stated, “The people at Fischer & Wieser are great! Jenny’s efforts have been fantastic for these students, and are very much appreciated!”

Wieser plans to continue teaching these students throughout the summer, with extended lab experiences. “We’ve managed to cover the required material throughout this semester, in spite of limited resources, and know the students will further benefit from the summer enrichment activities we have planned.”

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