What’s Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #103 April 30- May 1, 2003

web address: http://www.chem.tamu.edu/ugrad/

[a publication of the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University]

written by Dr. John L. Hogg



            Several undergraduate chemistry majors were honored at the ACS Student Affiliate banquet held on Friday, April 25 in the Faculty Club on campus.


            Drs. Hogg and Tiner presented the awards for outstanding accomplishments by undergraduate chemistry majors. They were joined by Dr. Emile Schweikert, Head of Chemistry, in congratulating the students as they received their awards. The money for these awards came from the Department of Chemistry and the Texas A&M Section of the American Chemical Society. The Celanese Excellence Award winners which had previously been announced at a banquet hosted by Celanese were also recognized again and the Abbott Laboratories Undergraduate Research Award recipients were also announced. The Celanese and Abbott awards are funded by those companies. Recipients of all awards were selected by the members of the Department’s Undergraduate Awards Committee. Congratulations to these outstanding students!


            Chemistry Department Outstanding Undergraduate Award ($200 and a certificate) - Given to two outstanding seniors this year who both have perfect GPR’s at A&M.

Haley E. Hagg

Amelia J. Hesshiemer


            Chemistry Department Achievement Awards ($50 and a certificate) - Given to a few outstanding junior and senior chemistry majors based on GPR and other factors.


Seniors (4th Year Students)

            Oakley T. Davis, Michael D. Gustavson, Sarah M. Holt, Jessica E. Raushel, Lauren R. Six and Marc D. Wilson.                                

Juniors(3rd Year Students)

            Joel P. Barton, Elizabeth A. Edwards, Amber R. Jensen, Eleanor L. Pate, and Scott B. Peterson.                                            


            Outstanding Chemistry Majors in Sophomore Organic ($50 and a certificate): Four students were chosen to share this award:


            Christopher R. Dalrymple, Ann H. Henderson, Amanda K. Jenkins, and Anna K. Schell.


            Merck Index Award (a copy of the Merck Index presented by Merck) - Given to a graduating senior planning to attend medical school, vet school or dental school.


            Amelia J. Hessheimer


            CRC Outstanding Chemistry Majors in General Chemistry (a copy of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics presented by CRC, a $25 check and a departmental certificate) Three students were chosen to receive this award. They are:


            Erin N. Castillo, Joshua A. Garey, and Casseday P. Richers


            Hugh McLean Jr. Award ($200) - Given to a graduating senior who has shown outstanding dedication, perseverance and desire in pursuit of the degree.


            Aaron K. Justice


          ACS Leadership Award ($100 check presented by the local ACS section) - Recognition for outstanding contributions to the local ACS section and student affiliate chapter.


            Amy R. McMahon


            Outstanding Analytical Chemistry Student ($50 check) - The award for outstanding accomplishment in Chemistry 415/434 went to:


            Michael D. Gustavson


            The 2002-2003 officers were: Shanique Leonard, president; Quinn Lung, vice-president; Amy McMahon, treasurer; Michael Sarahan, secretary; and Erin Castillo, historian.


            Officers for 2003-2004 announced at the banquet, will be: Michael Sarahan, president; Jennifer Goss, vice-president; Daniel Hollas, treasurer; Erin Castillo, secretary; and Christopher Dalrymple, historian. Dr. Tammy Tiner, associate undergraduate advisor, and Marylin Warren will serve as the co-advisors. You may check out the student affiliate chapter at the following web site: http://www.chem.tamu.edu/ugrad/chemsoc/




            Jessica Raushel and Laura Bourque were selected by a committee of faculty members to receive the Abbott Undergraduate Research Awards for this year. Each receive a check for $500 from funds provided by Abbott Laboratories. They will have their names inscribed on a nameplate on a departmental plaque which hangs in the Chemistry Building. The awards, announced at the ACS student affiliate banquet on April 25, are for outstanding accomplishment and/or potential in organic chemistry research. Jessica has been doing her research locally with Dr. Gary Suikowski. She will be receiving her B.S. degree this May and will enter graduate school at the Scripps Research Institute this fall. She has also spent a summer in an NSF-REU program at Columbia University working with Dr. Virginia Cornish and will spend this summer working at Bristol Myers Squibb. Jessica has served as a teaching assistant in the freshman chemistry program and spent a summer studying in France.


            Laura will begin working in the labs of Dr. Daniel Romo. She has previously worked at the Texas Biotechnology Corporation the past two summers. She will be a senior B.S. chemistry major this fall.





            Aaron Justice and Marc Wilson were honored as recipients of the eleventh annual Celanese Excellence Awards on April 17, 2003. The dinner honoring these students was hosted by Celanese represented by Stan Fruchey. Also attending as Celanese representatives were former A&M undergraduate chemistry majors, David Trueba (B.S. 2001) and Emily Squibb (B.S. 2002).

               Each recipient received a $500 check and will have their name inscribed on a nameplate on a departmental plaque which hangs in the Chemistry Building. The awards recognize outstanding academic and extracurricular activities by senior undergraduate chemistry majors. Marc received his B.S. degree in chemistry in December 2002 and will enter the graduate chemistry program at Stanford University this fall. Marc had previously done his undergraduate research under the direction of Dr. Simon North. Aaron will receive his B.S. degree in chemistry this May and will enter the graduate chemistry program at the University of Illinois. His undergraduate research has been done under the direction of Dr. Stephen Miller. Identical awards were presented to three chemistry graduate students and five chemical engineering students at the dinner held in the Jon Hagler Center. Also recognized at the event were Kelly DeCock, Travis Gilbreath and Sarah Holt, each of whom currently holds an A.E. Martell-IUCCP Undergraduate Chemistry Scholarship sponsored by Celanese.





            Dr. Dwight Conway will receive the Association of Former Students Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching on May 8. Dr. Conway has taught both honors and non-honors general chemistry, physical chemistry and physical chemistry lab in a long tenure at Texas A&M University. Congratulations, Dr. Conway.





            Benjamin Keller, junior chemistry major, has been accepted for admission to the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. He will begin his study there in August.


            Sheetal Wadera, freshman chemistry major, has been accepted into the UT-Health Science Center Summer Undergraduate Research Program. She will be doing research in psychoneuroimmunology in the Allergy-Immunology Department.


            Michael Gustavson, who will receive the B.S. degree in May, will enter the graduate program in chemistry at the University of Illinois this fall.


            Scott Peterson, senior chemistry major, has been accepted into the NSF-REU program at the Cornell Center for Materials Research from June 2 - August 8. He will be working with Dr. Dotsevi Sogah on silicate nanocomposites.


            Amelia Hessheimer, who will graduate this month with her B.S. in chemistry, will either attend medical school at Vanderbilt University or the University of California - San Francisco.





            Dr. Ruben Garnica (B.S. 1997) sent the following e-mail broadly describing what he does after much badgering from me. “The Space Technology sector of Northrop Grumman develops a broad range of systems at the leading edge of space, defense and electronics technology. Products include: satellites - for communications, science, weather and surveillance, avionics for next-generation fighter aircraft and attack helicopters, and high energy lasers for defense. This is primarily and engineering company but all of its technologies depend heavily upon chemistry. The Chemistry Technology Department is focused on providing support for programs across the sector who require expertise in chemistry. Examples include the formulation of recipes for defensive laser systems, analysis of alloys and resins used in satellite production, and the regular monitoring of industrial equipment such as vapor degreasers and plating baths. Working predominantly as an internal consultant, daily work varies greatly and involves many gravimetric and spectroscopic analyses as well as investigative research. If you are interested in learning more about NGST or aerospace in general please email me at ruben.garnica@trw.com."


            Shelley (Guzman) Lenamond (B.A. 1998) is nearing completion of her studies at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and sent along the following e-mail recently. “Howdy, Dr. Hogg! How are you? Well, things here are finally settling down. Ethan is now 14 months, walking all over the place, and talking up a storm. I'm graduating in May and start my residency at UT Southwestern/John Peter Smith Hospital in June in Family Practice. The hospital is here in Fort Worth, so we don't have to move.

I hope everything is well, and hope to hear from you soon.” Friends may e-mail her to send congratulations at: shellenamond@hotmail.com


            Amanda Hawthorne (B.A. 2002) has sent the following good news. “I hope this email finds you winding up another good, productive semester. I am certainly glad I don't have finals to study for. That's too much stress for me! I do have some good news...I am getting married on July 5, 2003. I am engaged to Bryan Phillips, Class of 2002. He's an MIS major who is graduating in May and will attend law school at the University of Houston starting in the fall. We're getting married at All Faiths Chapel on campus -- my parents (both Aggies) got married there 26 years ago.” Amanda is employed at Bethyl Laboratories. You may e-mail congratulations to her at: amandah02@hotmail.com 


            Leah Whiteker (B.S. 2002) sent along the following e-mail with details of her exploits in the Navy. “Hi! How are you doing? It has been a long time! I am doing well. I just finished my first semester (all A's!) of classes at the Citadel. I am taking six hours starting May 12th, one each summer session. I am really enjoying my break. I am attending Command Financial Specialist school this week. It is nice to be away from the command for a few days. It is really an interesting school. I am learning a lot of good financial information that will help me personally and I'll be able to counsel sailors at the school after finishing the course. I found out a few weeks ago that I am transferring to Enlisted Chemistry, Materials, and Radiological Fundamentals in September. I am excited because it is the one place where my chemistry degree can really apply to NNPTC. I am going to be E-MATH Track Coordinator for the upcoming class. It will be a little more responsibility than I have had in the past, so I am pretty excited about that. After this next class, I am going to be on teaching break until September. I will have from the end of June until September off from teaching! Just let me know when you and Janet need a vacation. Charleston is an amazing place!!! I absolutely love living here. I spend a lot of time going out and having a good time. This past weekend a bunch of us went to Momma's Blues Palace downtown. It is kind of a rough blues bar near the visitor's center downtown. The band is a family and they were really awesome The music was some of the best I ever heard, plus it was hilarious to watch Momma! You would have loved it! I spend a lot of time with my friends (mostly other single officers from work) at the beach or at clubs and bars downtown. I am going to be a big sister soon. I have my at home interview on May 5th. I have been missing community service and even though I am pretty busy with work and school, I am going to find the time to do some. I am pretty excited about being a big sister. Since I really am just a big kid at heart, I figure I will be pretty good at it. I'll let you know how it turns out. Well, I better get going. The alarm will be going off early at 0600 tomorrow!! Hope everything is well with you and hope to hear from you soon.” Leah

You may e-mail Leah at: lwhiteker@hotmail.com 


            Emily Squibb (B.S. 2002) is now a process chemist supporting the ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol unit at the Celanese Clear Lake plant. Emily may be reached by e-mail at: emily@photophilous.com


            Melissa (Supak) Valadez (B.S. 2000) was married to Steve Valadez on December 21, 2002. After spending about a year training as a trace evidence analyst with the Texas DPS Crime Lab in Austin she is now working in the McAllen lab. The last e-mail I got (March 31) indicated that her husband was just leaving for Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. We hope that Steve is safe and sound. Friends may contact Melissa at: chemvix@hotmail.com


            Andrew Bolin (B.A. 2000) sent an e-mail to say he is just about to finish his third year of medical school at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. He indicated he’d be going on a medical rotation in China next April and would then spend a month traveling around Asia. You may contact him at: andrewbolin@houston.rr.com



           The application forms for the George C. Bauer Scholarships are now available, for chemistry majors only, in Room 104 Chemistry from Ms. Marylin Warren. These scholarships (typically about three $300-$400 awards) are for the 2003-2004 academic year. The simple application is due by May 15 and the awards will be announced during the summer. Financial need is the main criterion for selection although academic performance is considered if financial need is equal. Chemistry majors who will be juniors or seniors during the 2003-04 academic year are eligible for the scholarships. The chemistry undergraduate awards committee will review the applications and make recommendations for the awards. We typically receive very few applications for these scholarships so I encourage you to apply. We have decided to wait until after spring 2003 grades are submitted to make the decisions. 



            It is expected that we will soon (by mid summer) have funds to award four $6000 scholarships to undergraduate chemistry majors who plan to become high school teachers. The funds are provided by the Hach Scientific Foundation for this purpose. The scholarship recipients must be undergraduate chemistry majors and must have at least a 3.00 GPR. If you would like to be considered for one of these scholarships please contact Dr. Hogg before you leave for the summer. Even former A&M undergraduate chemistry majors who are post-baccalaureate and are now studying chemical education are eligible.






            Research technician/assistant positions are available to work at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. The research is directed towards understanding:


            1) T cell mediated pathogenesis in mouse models of auto-immunity. This work is directed towards understanding how T cells become triggered to cause autoimmune disease, using animal models of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

            2) The factors which regulate the serum levels of antibodies. We are studying how the Fc receptor, FcRn, controls serum antibody levels by analyzing the behavior of the receptor in endothelial cell lines. In addition, in vitro binding studies are directed towards understanding the molecular details as to how the receptor interacts with antibodies.

            These studies all involve a combination of cellular and molecular/biophysical techniques, including fluorescence microscopy and surface plasmon resonance analyses. In collaboration with Prof. Raimund Ober (Department of Electrical Engineering, UT Dallas) we are also using bioengineering approaches to develop improved methodologies for fluorescence imaging and the analysis of surface plasmon resonance data.

            Applicants from all areas are encouraged to apply, but preference will be given to those with a strong background in the natural sciences or engineering. Applicants should be available to work for at least one year.

            For further information concerning application procedures, please contact: Prof. E. Sally Ward, Center for Immunology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, 6000 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75390-8576. Email: wardlab@utsouthwestern.edu.

            UT Southwestern is an equal opportunity employer and offers a non-smoking environment.