Marissa Bartz ’15 can claim something that no other college senior in the country can claim: she’ll become the first to complete the nation’s only program offering a bachelor’s degree in chemical microscopy. And she’s combined it with minor in art history to pursue a career in art conservation, applying her skills to analyze and restore valuable paintings and other art.
In 2011, North Central and the Hooke College of Applied Sciences in Westmont, IL, announced a partnership to offer the nation’s only four-year degree in chemical microscopy. Chemical microscopy involves the use of microscopes to solve various chemistry problems, including contamination, particle identification and materials analysis. Other fields that use chemical microscopy include forensics and pharmaceuticals.
The program combines three years at North Central with one year at Hooke College working with instructors who are also senior researchers at McCrone Associates, Inc., internationally recognized as a leader in materials science. Bartz learned how to analyze materials without contaminating them; how to quickly identify a variety of fibers and minerals based on their distinct chemical makeups; and how to isolate, manipulate and mount samples and then use highly sophisticated microscopes to analyze them.
“My liberal arts courses showed me how different disciplines connect, and Hooke College showed me how theoretical knowledge is the basis for the practical solution to any problem,” Bartz said.
“Marissa is extremely well prepared to proceed to graduate school or enter into a career,” said Jeff Jankowski, associate professor of chemistry at North Central. “Being a scholar in the humanities and the sciences, Marissa has not only studied and learned within both of these disciplines, but collectively applied her knowledge of them, letting one inform and influence the other.”