Professor Gerry Marangoni (centre) is pictured at the announcement with StFX Academic Vice-President and Provost Kevin Wamsley (left) and StFX President Andy Hakin.

ANTIGONISH: Taylor Doucet says working as a research assistant in Professor Gerry Marangoni’s lab for the past three years has been invaluable to her.

Doucet made the remarks on March 29, during an announcement that StFX University had received a gift of $100,000 from the Marangoni family, which includes her long-serving chemistry professor.

“This funding will give peace of mind to students and professors wanting to do research, as some of the money will be going to support undergraduate students wanting to gain research experience,” she said. “I would not trade this time working with Dr. Marangoni for the world. The experience I’ve gained, and friendships I’ve made are irreplaceable.”

Kevin Wamsley, StFX’s academic vice-president indicated “The Marangoni Fund for Chemistry” will be used to create a fund to support student research, assist in capital equipment acquisition and create an endowment for future needs.

“Today, it’s our purpose to celebrate this gift and to thank, on behalf of StFX University, the Marangoni family,” Wamsley said. “For their generosity and foresight toward supporting student research in chemistry.”

Nicole MacNeil, a fourth year honours chemistry student, suggested research opportunities during undergraduate studies allows students like her the opportunity to apply what they learn in classes and teaching labs for practical, real-world situations.

“Experience in a lab environment helps students really learn about the process of research, and explore ideas in science outside of the classroom and gain skills,” MacNeil said. “This donation will provide the funding for more undergraduate science students to be able to participate in research.”

The Marangoni’s donation will also help fund crucial new equipment for the department to use for research and teaching activities; with the first piece of research equipment being a Benchtop NMR.

An information-rich tool, NMR is used for clarifying molecular structure by providing evidence of the type, number, and connectivity of the constituents composing a molecule.

StFX President Andy Hakin specified that Marangoni asks really interesting questions about the world around him and pushes the boundaries for answers, and is passing that curiosity on to the next generation of learners.

“It’s a game-changer, Gerry. Bringing students into the game this way, is what we do,” Hakin said. “That curiosity is being fed into (his) students.”

In his explanation behind the motivation of his family’s donation, Marangoni indicated it’s really about supporting the Chemistry department and enabling students to participate in research opportunities.

“As a department, we take an awful lot of pride in the work we do in both teaching and research labs, which we so highly value,” Marangoni said. “Our family thought it was important to make a contribution. It’s a contribution that we’re really proud to be making to this university.”