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Midland College

The Midland College CCURI Plan:

The "Hook" Labs: Each investigator on the CCURI team will develop a lab for inclusion in the laboratories that are taken by all students in each of the science classes. The topic of the lab will be based on their particular research project. The aim is to "hook" students into the STEM disciplines by exposing them to 1) more inquiry based laboratory experiences and 2) the opportunities to participate in undergraduate research projects while here at Midland College. 


Midland College Stem Conference: On October 5 & 6 Midland College in collaboration with The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Odessa College, and The University of Texas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (UTLSAMP) is hosting the West Texas STEM Undergraduate Research Conference.

The 2012 West Texas STEM Undergraduate Research Conference is designed to be a regional showcase of research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) performed by undergraduate students.

Faculty Projects

Dr. Pat Nandakumar, Chemistry

Photo Caption: Dr. Pat Nandakumar (left) and Jasmine Flores (right) grind a metal oxide powder they will use in the cathode layer of a lithium-ion coin cell. Their research as part of the Department of Energy Visiting Faculty Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory focuses on how to improve the life cycle of lithium ion batteries.

Layered Spinel High Capacity Cathode Material in Lithium ion batteries


Synthesis lithium free MnNiO layered spinel cathode materials through co-precipitation and reverse micelle methods. Later Lithium is added to the metal oxides and calcined at 900 C for 8 hours. The samples are characterized through XRD, SEM-EDX, ICP-AES, Impedance Spectroscopy and Charge-discharge studies.

The LiMnNiO cathode materials are modified by adding smaller amounts of Ga dopants and the effect of doping is studied. The discharge capacity is expected to increase due the stabilization of the disordered structure and increase in the lithium mobility thereafter. During 2012 summer research in ORNL, Dr. Pat Nandakumar and her student Jasmine Flores studied the  Ga doped Lithium manganese oxide spinel materials.

Silver doped superionic conducting electrolyte material

Solid state batteries are widely used where leak proof conditions are required. These batteries should possess long life in the applications of pacemakers as replacing them often is not a possibility. The silver based superionic conducting electrolyte materials are synthesized through melt quench and sol-gel process and their properties are compared. The electrolyte materials are characterized through XRD, FTIR, Impedance spectroscopy and charge-discharge profile.  During Spring 2012, Dr. Pat Nandakumar and her student Patricia Kingston had synthesized and studied the silver molybovanadate electrolyte materials.

Nitrogen doped Zinc oxide materials for solar cell application

The zinc oxides are doped with Nitrogen through solvothermal and UV method. The solution mixture is stirred under UV for several hours and dried in the oven. The Nitrogen doped Zinc oxide powders are characterized through XRD, FTIR, UV-Vis Diffuse reflectance, and SEM-EDX techniques.  The band gap measurements are done through UV-Vis measurements and the samples showed definite shift in the absorption frequency. Dr. Pat Nandakumar, Dr. Julio Valladares and student Jasmine Flores had been working on these materials from Fall 2011 and now the work is collaborated with ORNL scientists.

Dr. Thomas Ready, Chemistry

Reserach Interests:

  • Project 1: Synthesis and Testing of Novel Antibiotics

  • Project 2: Synthesis and Testing of Novel DNA/RNA Fluorescent Probes

  • Project 3: Novel Technologies for the Detection of Hydrogen Sulfide Gas

  • Project 4: Water Analysis and Chemical Pathways to Environmental Toxins

Dr. Julio Valedares, Chemistry

Research Interests:

  • 1. Development of functional materials from nanoscale components and applications in solar energy conversion, environmental remediation, fuel cells and catalysis.

  • 2. Preparation, testing and characterization of TiO2photocatalysts doped with cations of transition metals and anion.

Dr. Paul Mangum, Biology

Research Interests:

  • 1) Mapping, sequencing  and Population Genetics of the PTC taster gene.

  • 2) Barcoding the I-20 Wildlife Preserve.

April Smith TTABSS 2013_1
Benjamyn Ortiz TTABSS 2013

Vision and Change Implementation


Integrate Core Concepts and Competencies throughout the Curriculum

  • Introduce the scientific process to students early, and integrate it into all undergraduate biology courses

  • Relate abstract concepts in biology to real ­world examples on a regular basis, and make biology content relevant by presenting problems in a real ­life context 

  • Demonstrate both the passion scientists have for their discipline and their delight in sharing their understanding of the world with students


Focus on Student ­Centered Learning

  • Use multiple modes of instruction in addition to the traditional lecture

  • Integrate multiple forms of assessment to track student learning

  • Give students ongoing, frequent, and multiple forms of feedback on their progress

Promote a Campus wide Commitment to Change

  • Mobilize all stakeholders, from students to administrators, to commit to improving the quality of undergraduate biology education

Engage the Biology Community in the Implementation of Change

  • Promote more concept­ oriented undergraduate biology courses, and help all students learn how to integrate facts into larger conceptual contexts 

  • Provide all biology faculty with access to the teaching and learning research referenced throughout this report, and encourage its application when developing courses 

  • Create active ­learning environments for all students, even those in first ­year biology courses

High Impact Practices Implementation

First-Year Seminars and Experiences

Collaborative Assignments and Projects

Undergraduate Research

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