The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

Chemistry Fusion Society aims to unite students with an interest in the subject in a college facing staffing issues

The new club has been created despite De Anza’s lack of resources and programs for the major
Courtesy of Chemistry Fusion Society Club
From left, Christopher Deming, faculty advisor, Fenan Feno, 19, biology major, Chetnaa Prasad, 19, biology major and Chemistry Fusion Society officers in the Physical Sciences and Technology Village after their first meeting on June 13.

The Chemistry Fusion Society is the first of its kind since the disbandment of the Chemistry Club in the Winter Quarter of 2019. The new club instituted by Inter Club Council in Spring held their first meeting in the Physical Science and Technologies Village on June 13.

De Anza College does not offer a formal major or degree for transfer. The Chemistry Department is working towards creating a course map that keeps students below the maximum credits for transfer.

Fanan Feno, 19, biology major, club founder and president of the Chemistry Fusion Society looks forward to having regular meetings and events that dive into chemical applications. The club plans on hosting research projects for competition as well.

“In the fall we’re aiming to start our own experiments like making ice-cream and candles and explaining the chemistry behind it,” Feno said. “Like why does ice-cream melt so easily?”

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Feno is an intended chemistry major for transfer but is enrolled as a biology major in DegreeWorks.

“There’s no chemistry club at De Anza,” Feno said. “There’s no Chemistry major. I have time. I can start this.”

The process for inscribing as a new club through the ICC and reserving time in the Village was untimely, but she appreciates the help from Professor Christopher Deming, faculty of the Chemistry Department.

“I felt I was unfit to (create the club),” Feno said. “(Deming) was super encouraging and helpful.”

Chetnaa Prasad, 19, biology major and club secretary said Feno has a great passion for chemistry and is hopeful students will join the club in the fall. This Spring quarter, Prasad could not enroll in a chemistry course despite asking many professors for add codes during the first weeks of the quarter.

“I know there’s so many other students who have the same experience because all the waitlists are constantly full,” said Prasad. “I would think they would open up more chemistry classes but they never do.”

Students with priority registration like Feno don’t have issues with chemistry’s scarcity. Rowan Schmieder-Frank, 19, biology major, benefits from priority registration but said a lot of students she knows from her classes struggle with enrollment.

The chemistry department is short staffed in terms of full-time instructors and relies on a majority part-time staff to teach. Deming said the issue limits course expansion.

Creating schedules with part-time faculty is difficult since they are limited by how many courses they can teach and can become unavailable due to De Anza’s late Spring commencement.

“For how many sections we offer and how small our department is, it becomes hard to do other little things; curriculum, making sure labs are up-to-date,” Deming said. “If we didn’t have all the amazing part-time jobs that we do, we would be in a worse position.”

Deming said the limitation for the part-time instructors that makes up nearly 80% of falls instruction should have their course limitations lifted and they should receive equal pay to full-time instructors.

“It’s hard to get chemistry classes when you can have a sequence all at one,” Deming said. “It is a battleground trying to get swift tickets. It doesn’t provide a timely pipeline.”

Chemistry students are told to buy gloves to perform in-class experiments.
They reuse pipettes, and a fume hood in a laboratory is broken. Students also work in pairs because there are not enough resources to work alone.

“We’re struggling, but we have such a good system that we are keeping afloat,” Deming said. “We’re not looked at as the highest priority.”

As a former advisor to the Health and Medical Sciences club that disbanded shortly after the pandemic, Deming is in contact with students who are applying to medical school, graduate school and in their current transfer school.

“I really want to get them to come talk to us,” Deming said. “Hearing from someone who is one or two steps ahead (and) where you want to be going is really valuable information that you won’t get in a classroom.”

Stefanie Garza, 19, undecided major, is interested in joining the Chemistry Fusion Society. Garza will hold officer roles in both the Zero Waste and Climate Awareness Club and Women in STEM starting in the fall.

“I look forward to meeting others who really like chemistry,” Garza said after winning first place in a chemistry-themed Kahoot match during Chemistry Fusion Society’s first meeting. “It would be nice to study (chemistry) with other people.”

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Xitlaly Martinez
Xitlaly Martinez, Staff Reporter

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