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Department ChairJennifer SorensenENGR 405B
Director of General Science & Assistant Professor
March 2000 Dr. Jen 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. Dr. Sorensen teaches introductory/general chemistry,
environmental chemistry, interdisciplinary science courses, and the senior
synthesis (research) series for general science and environmental science
majors. She has mentored at least ten undergraduate research students
conducting original research, and has supervised over 160 seniors writing a
literature-based senior thesis.
scholarly work has spanned three different areas: science education, sustainability, and
Science Education: Jen Sorensen
was co-Principal Investigator of Inquiry
in the Community (IC), a
collaborative research project with Girl Scouts of Western Washington. This
project developed 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 was funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Sorensen was a science team leader for the Washington State College Readiness
Project Phase II. In this capacity, she worked 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. Prior to that, she was a key member of the
Phase I Science Team that defined college readiness content, skills, and
in 2014, Sorensen is looking forward to collaborating with colleagues in the
College of Education to create new pathways for undergraduate science and
engineering majors to become credentialed science and math teachers.
Sustainability: Jen Sorensen
was 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 developed a suite of tests to perform process monitoring of Seattle
University's on-site composting facility. Student projects have studied such
diverse topics as mercury recycling in fluorescent light bulbs and compostable
cups and plates.
of the classroom, Sorensen was one of two faculty mentors to a novel team
project that included graduate business students and an undergraduate
environmental science student. Their
research led to a community education and marketing plan for a low-technology
water filtration system used in Nicaragua.
university level, Dr. Sorensen worked with a team of colleagues from across the
university to conceptualize and launch the Center for
Environmental Justice and Sustainability,
Seattle University’s first “Center for Excellence.” The CEJS is now an intellectual hub of
student and faculty scholarship across academic disciplines.
Computational Chemistry: 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 her doctoral research in the Computational Center for
Molecular Structure and Design at the University of Georgia, Sorensen was a
Fulbright Student Scholar at the Technical University of Budapest, Hungary.
During that time she used ab initio
methods to study phosphinoboranes.
Science Facilitation in a Community Organization, J. Sorensen, Proceedings
of the 2013 Western Region Research Conference on the Education of Adults,
Seattle Washington (2013).
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).
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).
Inquiry Science in Girl Scouts” J. Sorensen, S. Lingwood, over 300 Girl Scout
staff and volunteer facilitators trained through 1-3 day workshops, multiple
locations in Washington, Oregon, California, and Maine, February-October 2012.
'Numeracy' in Non-Major Chemistry Courses" J. Sorensen, 18th Biennial
Conference on Chemical Education, Ames, IA, July 2004.
"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.
Center for Environmental Justice and
Sustainability Co-Founder, Seattle University
University Core Revision Committee,
Second-Term General Chemistry
Examination Committee, American Chemical Society
Expanding Your Horizons Planning Committee
University at the Frontiers of Environmental Justice and Sustainability”
Seattle University Mission Day, April 2013.
Faculty Perspective on Jesuit Education at Seattle University” Seattle
University Summer Orientation keynote speech to parents, July 2008, July 2009.
and Careers in the Chemical Sciences” American Chemical Society/American
Association of Clinical Chemistry workshop for high school teachers, Bellevue
WA, October 2005.
the Next Generation of Female Scientists and Engineers” University of
Washington Women in Science and Engineering Conference, Seattle WA, April 2003.
Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, University of
M.A., Science Education (coursework
complete), University of Georgia
B.S., Chemistry (ACS certified),
Link to CV
for more information.
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