This dissertation is an integration of fundamental research and chemical education. It begins with two nonlinear spectroscopic studies of compounds important to the study of brain chemistry. In Chapter 2, we present a novel method using quantum mechanics for modelling ligand docking and the potential of nonlinear circular dichroism for elucidating the mechanism of cannabinoids docking to their receptor, a contribution to studies of varying psychological effects of cannabinoids. Considering existent challenges with measuring this phenomenon, in Chapter 3, we evaluate two-photon absorption properties of Thioflavin T (ThT) in varying glycerol/water content solutions and discuss the enhancement of nonlinear absorption due to small micelle formation. Our results represent the potential to enhance the applications of ThT for imaging Amyloid beta plaques in vitro and ex vivo and its potential application in vivo. Next, we consider the benefits of incorporating modern research into the undergraduate curriculum. In Chapter 4, we describe the integration of nonlinear optics into the physical chemistry laboratory in a course-based undergraduate research experience and the effects on student learning and perceptions. In Chapter 5, we expand our impact to secondary students by describing the development and assessment of the Orlando Chemistry Training, Enrichment, and Tutoring (OCTET) camp and its success in conveying chemistry concepts and inspiring students to pursue chemistry. In Chapter 6, we combine the successes of the previous two studies and incorporate a research component into OCTET. We study the effect on participants' views about science and show the impact on their practical knowledge about doing science. Finally, in Chapter 6, we extend the implementation of authentic learning to the classroom, present the implementation of active learning in physical chemistry, and describe students' perceptions. The results presented in this dissertation demonstrate successful integration of fundamental research into education and the powerful impact on all parties.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Donnelly, Julie, "Integration of Fundamental Research and CER: The Role of Authenticity in Developing Views on the Nature of Teaching, Learning, and Doing Science" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5766.