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Director of General Science & Assistant Professor
Dr. Sorensen teaches introductory/general chemistry, environmental chemistry, interdisciplinary science courses, and the senior synthesis series for general science and environmental science majors. She is the faculty leader of SUPER - the Seattle U. Project on the Environment and Recycling. Through SUPER, students apply their chemical and scientific knowledge to environmental problems impacting the campus community. For example, we have recently developed a suite of tests to perform process monitoring of Seattle University's on-site composting facility. Dr. Sorensen is also co-Principal Investigator on a collaborative research project with Girl Scouts of Western Washington called Inquiry in the Community (IC). Through IC, we are developing a new set of training courses for Girl Scout troop leaders that empowers them to facilitate inquiry science activities with their troops. In addition to the training curricula, the project provides ongoing activity ideas, science content support, and a community of practitioners to reinforce inquiry habits. IC is funded through a four-year grant from the National Science Foundation.Dr. Sorensen is currently a science team leader for the Washington State College Readiness Project Phase II. In this capacity, she is working with high school teachers to develop teaching materials and techniques that help cultivate the attributes students should develop to achieve readiness for college-level science courses. Dr. Sorensen's teaching scholarship focuses on the development of service learning chemistry courses and undergraduate research projects. The resulting applied projects have studied such diverse topics as mercury recycling in fluorescent lightbulbs and composting of "paper" cups and plates.
Professional Experience Since March 2000 Dr. Sorensen has taught in the Chemistry Department at Seattle University, and since July 2005 she has been Director of the General Science program. Prior to that, she was an instructor in the Chemistry Department at the University of Georgia. While at UGA, Dr. Sorensen developed a series of three-dimensional computerized molecular models to be used in the general chemistry lectures. This catalyzed the introduction of molecular modeling in the general chemistry laboratories, for 1500 students in the first year alone. In addition to her classroom work, Dr. Sorensen has been a content author and forum moderator for WebCT, a company that creates web-based course tools. Dr. Sorensen’s research in computational chemistry has used both quantum and classical mechanics to model molecular systems of biological interest. These methods are used to predict the molecular shape and properties of novel drug candidates. Prior to working in the Computational Center for Molecular Structure and Design at UGA (1995-1999), Dr. Sorensen was a Fulbright Student Scholar at the Technical University of Budapest, Hungary. During that time she used ab initio methods to study phosphinoboranes. Education Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, University of Georgia M.A., Science Education (coursework complete), University of Georgia B.S., Chemistry (ACS certified), Fairfield University Selected Publications and Presentations Calculating Interaction Energies Using First Principle Theories – Consideration of Basis Set Superposition Error and Fragment Relaxation, K. N. Kirschner, J. B. Sorensen, J. P. Bowen, J. Chem. Educ., 84, 1225 (2007). An Ab Initio Study of the Electrostatics of Protonated Amines: Application to the Molecular Mechanics (MM3) Force Field, J. B. Sorensen, A. H. Lewin, J. P. Bowen, THEOCHEM, 623, 145 (2003). Ab Initio Calculations and Molecular Mechanics (MM3) Parameterization of Protonated-Neutral Amine Hydrogen Bonds, J. B. Sorensen, A. H. Lewin, J. P. Bowen, J. Org. Chem., 66, 4105 (2001). Molecular Mechanics (MM3) Parameterization for Oxocarbenium Ions, G. Liang, J. B. Sorensen, D. Whitmire, J. P. Bowen, J. Comput. Chem., 21, 329 (2000). Computational Methods for Conformational Analysis of Unsymmetrical 1,3-Diamines: 3-Aminotropanes, A. H. Lewin, J. B. Sorensen, J. A. Dustman, J. P. Bowen, J. Comput. Chem., 20, 1371 (1999). ________________________________________ "Demonstrating 'Numeracy' in Non-Major Chemistry Courses" J. Sorensen, 18th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Ames, IA, July 2004. "Evaluating the Outcomes of Academic Service Learning" J. B. Sorensen, 226th Meeting of the American Chemical Society, New York, NY, September 2003. "Service Learning Across the Chemistry Curriculum: Collaborative and Complimentary Projects" J. Sorensen, S. C. Jackels, 17th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Bellingham, WA, July 2002. "Development of a Polyamine Force Field: Parameterization of the Protonated Amine Electronic Environment" J. B. Sorensen, A. H. Lewin, J. P. Bowen, University of Georgia Chemical Sciences Research Retreat, Athens, GA, September 1999. "Molecular Mechanics (MM3) Development of a Polyamine Force Field" J. B. Sorensen, A. H. Lewin, J. P. Bowen, 216th Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston, MA, August 1998. "Conformational Preferences of Alpha- and Beta-Substituted Cyclohexanones and Application to Molecular Mechanics (MM3)" J. B. Sorensen, J. P. Bowen, 216th Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Boston, MA, August 1998. "Defining the Future of Distance Learning: Tomorrow's Classroom" J. B. Sorensen, 8th Annual Conference on New Directions in Critical Theory, Tucson, AZ, March 1998.
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