• Name: Nancy Johnston, Ph.D.
  • Institution: Lewis-Clark State College
  • Department: Chemistry (Natural Sciences)
  • Phone: 208-792-2233
  • Email: najohnston@lcsc.edu

Summary: I am interested in atmospheric chemistry and aqueous chemistry, specifically using analytical techniques to determine environmental levels of toxins.  My current project involves studying the air quality of ambient air and wildfire affected air in Idaho and Washington state.  We use sorbent tubes to collect air and then bring samples back to the laboratory for analysis via thermal desorption-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS).    We are also testing water from local rivers for waste products, heavy metals and toxins using headspace gas chromatography and atomic absorption spectroscopy.  We also collaborate with Washington State University and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on larger projects.

Minimum classes: CHEM 111/112

Projects:  This summer we are collaborating with NOAA/NASA on a project called FIREX-AQ, which is investigating the air quality of wildfire-affected areas in the Northwest.   The project operates out of Boise, ID and involves a NASA airborne laboratory, but we will be helping on the ground front.  Our sorbent tube samples can detect hydrocarbon and halocarbon pollutants over short- or long-term periods.  This will help determine how harmful wildfire smoke is to areas where people live and work.  More info on FIREX-AQ:

https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/projects/firex-aq/

Students will learn the basics of analytical chemistry and instrumentation, as well as atmospheric chemistry.  They will participate in field air sampling, laboratory analysis including TD-GC-MS techniques, instrument calibration and troubleshooting, and data analysis.  They will have the opportunity to collaborate with other scientists and their data as well.

 

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