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Concordia University Chicago, The College of Microscopy Partner for In-Demand Degree Program in Microscopy, One of Nation’s First


Chicago and Westmont, Ill. – Feb. 13, 2009 – Preparing future scientists in fields from art history to pharmaceuticals, Concordia University Chicago is enrolling students for Fall 2009 in a new Applied Microscopy program in partnership with the internationally renowned College of Microscopy, the education division of The McCrone Group, Westmont, Illinois.

The Concordia/College of Microscopy Applied Microscopy program is among the first dedicated Bachelor of Science microscopy programs in the nation, and the first to combine the resources of a comprehensive liberal arts university and an international leader in microscopy.

Applied microscopy encompasses the use of light microscopy, electron microscopy, infrared and Raman spectroscopy, sample preparation and small-particle handling to solve problems and analyze or build materials on a nearly sub-atomic scale.

Technological advances across all disciplines have increased the need for applied microscopy for virtually all industries that rely on small particle identification and analysis: environmental and ecological sciences, materials engineering, forensic science, homeland security, public health and safety, art and archaeology, chemical and contamination identification, nanotechnology, manufacturing and many others.

“Traditionally, employers seeking microscopists hire candidates with Bachelor of Science degrees in chemistry, physics or another natural science,” said Anita Briedis-Bilsens, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at Concordia. “In the coming years, graduates with a Bachelor of Science specifically in applied microscopy will have an edge in securing those positions.”

“It is among the highest-demand degrees out there,” said Michael Whiteside, Ph.D., Concordia assistant professor of molecular biology who helped develop the program. “If you are studying the sciences, microscopy is one of the best degrees to ensure work right out of school, whether it is at a crime lab or in any number of high-tech fields.”

“The Concordia/College of Microscopy partnership will enable microscopy students to learn much more than they ever could in a traditional college program,” College of Microscopy Dean, Chuck Zona said.

“Learning in an actual laboratory environment at the College of Microscopy will enable students to develop sophisticated skill sets to complement their Concordia classroom experiences. Being a team member with scientists working at the forefront in solving materials problems allows the student to hit the ground running when they start their career,” said Zona.

Applied Microscopy majors at Concordia will complete three years of required courses in general, organic and analytical chemistry; biology; forensic science; instrumental analysis; calculus and physics. The rigorous coursework will prepare them for their final two semesters taking classes with world-class scientists and microscopy educators at the College of Microscopy in Westmont, Illinois.

Internationally known for its state-of-the-art laboratories and work in small-particle identification and analysis, the College of Microscopy provides highly specialized training for scientists, crime lab personnel, researchers, educators and technicians from around the world.

At the College’s new 40,000-square-foot learning center, Concordia students will take highly specialized microscopy coursework in infrared, Raman, polarized light, scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy. Courses also cover particle isolation and manipulation, and optical crystallography techniques.

Students will use the latest microscopy technology and instrumentation. They will interact with scientists with years of cutting edge industry experience, some of whom have analyzed the authenticity of the “Gospel of Judas” and world-famous works of art; solved technical material issues with NASA astronaut space suits; examined whether particles from artificial hip implants impact organ functions when the implant loosens or corrodes; and, much more.

In addition to the Applied Microscopy Bachelor of Science degree, Concordia and the College of Microscopy also offer a microscopy minor. The minor is designed to prepare students in other fields for jobs in fast-growing but highly specialized scientific sectors. For example, a business management degree and microscopy minor prepares a graduate for administrative, business and marketing positions in science-based government agencies or the private sector.

For more information, contact Concordia’s Office of Undergraduate Admission at or 877-CUChicago (877-282-4422).

About the College of Microscopy
The College of Microscopy, the education division of The McCrone Group, Inc., provides accredited training and education to scientists and students worldwide. Ensuring specialized education from experienced staff scientists from McCrone Associates, The McCrone Group’s analytical division and hands-on training using state-of-the-art microanalytical instrumentation, The College of Microscopy is dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of light and electron microscopy for materials analysis.

Completed in 2006, the College of Microscopy’s 40,000-square foot learning center in Westmont, Ill., offers state-of-the-art microscopes and analytical equipment, modern classrooms and labs, and many other amenities. For more information, visit

About Concordia University Chicago
Founded in 1864, Concordia University Chicago is a comprehensive liberal arts-based Christian university in the Lutheran tradition. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education and College of Graduate and Innovative Programs, Concordia offers more than 60 areas of study in small classes taught by professors who are passionate about teaching and student success.

Under the leadership of President John F. Johnson, Concordia equips men and women to serve and lead with integrity, creativity, competence and compassion in a diverse, interconnected and increasingly urbanized church and world. More than 4,200 full-time undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at Concordia, located 10 miles west of downtown Chicago in River Forest.
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