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Wallace Community College Chemistry and Criminal Justice students get hands-on experience with new infrared spectrometer


Dothan, Ala. – Wallace Community College students in science and criminal justice courses will have a new hands-on learning opportunity, thanks to a grant from the Alabama Power Foundation. 
The college recently purchased an infrared spectrometer with funding from the $70,000 Alabama Power Foundation Grant. Infrared spectrometers are used in industry settings such as manufacturing and scientific facilities, as well as in forensic labs and criminal investigations, to analyze samples and identify a substance.
College instructors Dr. Ann McCarty and Leah Cuthriell-Dawkins recently demonstrated the equipment during a campus tour with representatives of Bright Key, a partnership between Wiregrass Foundation and Dothan City Schools. 
Ms. Cuthriell-Dawkins teaches chemistry classes and will be demonstrating to her students how to analyze chemical compounds.
Dr. McCarty, a physics instructor, also teaches forensic science courses to career technical students in the Criminal Justice program at Wallace. She explained the practical application of the infrared spectrometer in forensic investigation. 
“Some students may be interested in working in a crime lab,” she said. “This would be the evidence that would be submitted in court.”
Both instructors are enthusiastic about the opportunity for students to learn about and experience the technology that was previous only taught in a textbook. 
“They’re not just looking at pictures in a book,” Dr. McCarty said. “They can get a hands-on knowledge of how this great piece of equipment works.”

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