Rolla students collect water samples


Yinfa Ma shows Danielle Insall and a group of Rolla High School students how water is tested in an S&T lab. Photo by B.A. Rupert

This fall, 63 students from Rolla High School collected local water samples from ponds, streams and faucets as part of a project to analyze water in conjunction with representatives from Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Yinfa Ma, Curators’ Teaching Professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, visited classrooms at the high school to present information about the analysis of water quality. The students then collected the various samples.

According to Ma, graduate students at S&T looked at caffeine levels in the samples. “Since so many things could exist in water samples, we start with caffeine to demonstrate the capabilities of our sensitive laboratory equipment to the high school students,” Ma says. “We consume so many drinks that contain caffeine. It will find a way to get into water resources. We may analyze other compounds at a later time.”

In October, the high school students took a “field trip” to Ma’s lab at S&T to see how the samples were analyzed. Ma re-visited the school to present the data later that month.

This project is funded by the American Chemical Society’s Division of Analytical Chemistry, which is providing grants during its “International Year of Chemistry Activities.”

by Lance Feyh

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