Undergraduate student supports and promotes chemistry on a national level

Colorado State University student, Chloe Beardsley, is well on her way to reaching her dreams of one day becoming a chemistry teacher who inspires others.

Beardsley, who will receive her Bachelor of Science in chemistry in May from the College of Natural Sciences, is a chemist on a team at Access Sensor Technologies (AST), a Fort Collins-based company specializing in environmental sampling products that shed light on pollutant exposure in air and water.

On top of that, she is set to become the president and founder of the local chapter of Iota Sigma Pi, a national honor society specializing in the promotion of women in sciences.

Chloe Beardsley

Access Sensor Technologies

Beardsley was part of AST’s award-winning team, which recently received funding from Tool Foundry accelerator, a four-month program emphasizing education and collaboration to help inventor teams strengthen their tools and build a foundation for sustainable growth.

Out of 71 applications from inventor teams nationwide, AST’s On-Target Cards were selected alongside four other teams to be part of the Tool Foundry cohort. Each team received $50,000 and has opportunities for educational sessions, technical guidance, mentorship, networking, learning from users and peer collaboration.

An On-Target Card is a credit card-sized sampling tool that enables anyone to perform fast, quantitative testing of multiple elements found in water and soil. The cards can be used to monitor any source of water, including streams, rivers, and lakes.

“The issue with testing your water is oftentimes water samples need to be sent into a lab, which is costly and timely,” Beardsley said. “The On-Target Cards allow people to do this on their own with an immediate response for a cost of $15 or cheaper.”

Beardsley’s primary role on the AST team is advancing tests for the On-Target Cards, making them more usable across different sample types.

For the next three months, she will have opportunities to grow the company through weekly webinars and a mentorship program through Tool Foundry. Her main goal with this program is to receive guidance in continuing development of an On-Target Education Kit that she has created for children to get a jumpstart on learning chemistry in a fun way.

“Chemistry is the way I see and understand the world,” Beardsley said. “The On-Target Education kit allows other people, specifically kids, to see the magic of chemistry happening right in front of them.”

Beardsley got her start in chemistry at CSU, developing paper-based devices for environmental applications under professor Chuck Henry. This work helped her transition to AST, where she strives to put chemistry in the hands of everyone.

Iota Sigma Pi (National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry)

Iota Sigma Pi (ISP) recently awarded Beardsley with the Gladys Anderson Emerson Scholarship, which recognizes excellence in chemistry or biochemistry from a female undergraduate student and includes $2,000 toward academics.

Expanding her role with the organization, Beardsley plans to open an ISP chapter for the Fort Collins area this fall, holding the position of president.

“It’s so important to me that women, especially women in male-dominated fields like chemistry, are supported sufficiently,” she said. “That’s why I’m going about founding this chapter.”

To open the chapter, Beardsley and other female students at CSU completed an application process that included getting 35 people to commit to membership, receiving letters of support from chemistry chairs at different universities and receiving letters of support from businesses in the industry. Professor and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, Nancy Levinger with the Department of Chemistry, has come on as the faculty sponsor and membership activities coordinator for the chapter.

The chapter’s first priority will be starting a two-tiered membership program. The first tier will involve pairing college students with professionals according to the career path the students want to follow. The second tier will include pairing college students with high schoolers to talk with them about their experiences in chemistry at the college level.

Membership is open to all chemistry students and faculty members as well as anyone associated in chemical-related fields at CSU.