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Chemistry department expands with new opportunities for students

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September 24, 2013

Dr. Chavonda Mills (left) and freshman Macy Polk work in together on a chemistry experiment.Dr. Chavonda Mills (left) and freshman Macy Polk work in together on a chemistry experiment.  Freshman Macy Polk has learned what it takes to balance the busy schedule of college life.

She works to stay caught up on her classwork and is involved in student activities, all while juggling the duties of a student athlete as a member of the Georgia College tennis team.

“Prioritizing is key,” said Polk. “Between classes and tennis practice, I study whenever I can to get as much done before it’s due.”

Studying is important since Polk has her eyes set on medical school after she completes her undergraduate degree.

“My mom is a radiology tech, so I became interested in medicine through her,” said Polk. “I’m looking at possibly going into radiology, anesthesiology or radiology oncology.”

Beginning fall 2014, Georgia College will offer a new track for chemistry majors that will better prepare students like Polk for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and medical school.

“Next year we will offer chemistry majors the opportunity to graduate with a track in biochemistry,” said Dr. Chavonda Mills, chemistry professor. “We received a $2,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to purchase equipment for a new biochemistry lab, and I will be working to develop several new courses for students interested in that field.”

Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes relating to living organisms. In the next few years the MCAT will increase its emphasis on biochemistry, and it is a necessary requirement for many pre-professional degree programs.

“This new track at Georgia College was designed with an emphasis on guided inquiry and active learning, which will help students learn to think independently while pursuing an undergraduate degree,” said Mills. “The laboratory courses provide an engaged learning atmosphere where students are not working out of a typical lab book that lays out the processes and steps needed. In these classes, the students will design and troubleshoot their experiments, allowing them to take ownership of their projects.”

An exciting opportunity for many students since this will better prepare them for the next step in their education.

“The biochemistry track will provide a more complete education for students like me who plan to move on to medical school,” said Polk. “’I’m glad Georgia College will offer a new choice for students because it helps us build a firm foundation for our future.”

With the new track, Mills hopes it will provide exposure to relevant content that will better meet the needs of students in the program.

“More than half of our chemistry majors are in pre-professional programs, so this will be a great new option for them,” said Mills.

For more information on the Department of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, visit


ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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