Chemistry professor and student hold falcon hand sanitizer
The Falcon hand sanitizer will be given to local first responders

While store shelves are void of toilet paper, paper towels, and the hottest commodity: hand sanitizer, UT Permian Basin’s chemistry department is mixing up their own solution. 

“One of the biggest troubles we saw in the community was that first responders were running low on hand sanitizer, so we immediately began researching the materials we would need. I discussed the idea with one of my students, Mikayla Rodriguez, and she eagerly joined the effort, said Chemistry Department Chair, Dr. Milka Montes.  

falconhandsanitizer.jpgMikayla is an undergraduate student researcher at UTPB. Following all CDC guidelines, Dr. Montes and Mikayla began calculating a formula (based on W.H.O recommendations) from scratch in a lab on campusDr. Montes said after running three different trials they were finally pleased with the results and the first batch of Falcon Hand Sanitizer was born on April 16.  

“We delivered to our UTPB Police Department over the weekend. We already have the next batch ready and we will be producing more as needed!” 

“Dr. Montes very graciously extended this opportunity to me and patiently helped guide me. In this process I definitely had to step out of my comfort zone, but I am grateful I did because it helped me improve my skills both as a researcher and within a chemistry lab, said Mikayla. 

Dr. Montes and Mikayla explained they are grateful to give back and help the West Texas community during this time of need all while using the skills taught and learned in the classroom at UT Permian Basin. 

“I am thankful for having the resources and support here at UTPB to contribute, and I am proud to be part of this Falcon Family, said Dr. Montes.  

It’s an awesome experience being able to work closely with such an amazing chemist and mentor who is helping me prepare for my future academic and career endeavors,” said Mikayla.