Kimberly Hollister and Alison Martin capped their spring semester at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania by passing theAmerican Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) certification exam, enabling BU to exceed the national average by eight percent. Nearly 1,000 college students took the exam, some 417 (42 percent) achieved certification with 122 students (12.3 percent) achieving certification with distinction, as announced by ASBMB last month.

Both are set to graduate Bloomsburg University this December as among the few chemistry graduates - less than 425 in the country - walking this year with ASBMB certification.

Honesdale native Martin, who plans to attend law school and study intellectual property and patents, said BU's small size is actually an asset, allowing students to develop a collaborative working relationship with professors in addition to mentorship.

"Each professor really wants what's best for their students to succeed in and out of the classroom," Martin said. "The chemistry program has taught me how to think critically. I learned memorizing is not enough. Being able to apply what you know to practical applications is extremely important in the real world.

"This highlights the ability of our program to prepare students to be successful on a national stage, especially considering who we compete against," said Michael Borland, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

"This credit does not fall solely on the biochemists; this is a victory for all the (department) faculty and their dedicated and unwavering commitment to undergraduate education. We spend countless hours in the classroom, lab, and office providing these students with the knowledge, tools and opportunities to become diligent, intelligent and competent scientists."

According to Borland, the ASBMB accreditation and recent exam certification validates that a chemistry and biochemistry education from BU - with small class sizes and hands-on laboratory experiences with cutting-edge instrumentation - makes its undergraduates competitive nationally.

"We may be a small department in terms of graduates," Borland said. " but we are an impactful department that provides students the opportunity to evolve and blossom into the best version of themselves as leaders and scientists."

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,600 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.