Independent Student Research: Flavor of Whiskey

Flavor of Whiskey project participants

Project summary

Developed a research program to analyze novel whiskey formulations for a local start-up company.


  1. The project continues to grow; we have added another three new students for Fall 2016
  2. Based on the initial results from samples received in Fall 2015, revised samples were provided from Cleveland Whiskey in the Spring 2016 semester. New samples will be analyzed in Fall 2016.
  3. Collaborating partner Envantage assisted with refinement of analysis method and provided a known sample for standardization.
  4. Former student on the project has transferred to the four-year institution partner Cleveland State University.
  5. Students presented results at a variety of ACS and other society meetings.
  6. Prof. Regan Silvestri was awarded the Lorain County Community College Foundation Faculty Excellence Award in 2016 for his work on this project
  7. Student Katie Nowlin was awarded the Ohio Academy of Sciences Undergraduate Research Award in May 2016 for her work on this project. 

Most successful aspects

  1. An extensive number of students were able to present on their work. All of the students on the project gained a great deal of public speaking experience. Further, the students benefited from the networking opportunities afforded at their presentation engagements.
  2. The initial seed funding from the ACS Collaborative Opportunities Grant was the catalyst for obtaining several other grants. The ability to secure funding from multiple sources is critical for the continuation of this student research program into the future.

Tips for similar projects

  1. Pick a topic that college students would be interested in.
  2. Pick a practical topic that students can relate to, as opposed to a basic or theoretical one.
  3. Perform applied work with an industry partner, which provides practical information on a real world topic; students readily relate and quickly begin to contribute.
  4. Get your students out into the public; no matter what your project is and what your program is, public experience is the best experience for your students.

Next steps

We continue to recruit new students into the research group and obtain new samples for analysis from our industry partner, Cleveland Whiskey. We will continue to report our results to them in an informative and useful fashion.

With this research group successfully established in the Department of Chemistry at Lorain County Community College, in the future we wish to introduce new research projects on additional new topics with new industry partners in other industry sectors.

Materials produced