What’s Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #108

February 26 , 2004


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

written by Dr. John L. Hogg


            Senior and junior undergraduate chemistry majors are encouraged to apply (deadline March 22) for the annual Celanese Excellence Awards of $500. All funds for this program have been provided by Celanese, Ltd. and two awards are made to outstanding senior (possibly junior) chemistry majors. Celanese representatives have indicated that they take this designation to mean students who are in their third or fourth year of college. In selecting the award recipients, emphasis is placed on research potential, promise of a research career in academia or industry, likelihood of graduate school after receipt of the bachelor’s degree, departmental service and involvement in extracurricular activities. The students will be honored at a reception on April 16, 2004. Please bring all application materials to Dr. Hogg in Room 104 Chemistry. Last year's recipients were Marc Wilson (now in graduate school at Stanford) and Aaron Justice (now in graduate school at the University of Illinois).

            Your application for a Celanese Excellence Award must include the following:

I. A resume’ (2 page maximum) which must include your major (minor), degree sought and date expected, your GPR in chemistry and overall, plus any other information you wish to include.

II. Please provide typewritten answers to the following questions on a separate page

  1. What is your career goal? (one paragraph)

   2. Briefly discuss any research projects on which you have worked. Discuss any special programs/internships/cooperative education programs in which you have been involved. (No more than three paragraphs, please)

 3. Have you made any formal oral/poster presentations of your research? If so, give details.

   4. Briefly discuss what you consider to be your most important activity not directly related to academics since you entered college. (No more than two paragraphs)

   5. What special skills/talents do you possess?

III. Provide one letter of recommendation form your research advisor and one other from anyone of your choice. You may have these sent directly to Dr. Hogg as long as they indicate they are in support of an application for a Celanese Award and are received no later than March 22. I will not provide a letter for you since I am already on the selection committee. These letters are optional.

  The deadline for receipt of all materials is March 22, 2004.


            Julie Orf (B.S. 2000) received the excellence in teaching award for the second consecutive year at UCLA back in the fall. I forgot to include this in earlier issues. Julie is working on her Ph.D. in chemistry under the direction of Dr. Fred Hawthorne and completed her advancement to candidacy in October 2003. She completed her MS in chemistry at UCLA in December 2002.

            Shona Burkes (B.S. 2003) accepted a position as a project chemist for URS Corporation in Austin after graduation in December. You may contact Shona at: Shona_Burkes@URSCorp.com

              Zsila Sadighi (B.A. 2000) stopped by for a short visit on February 25. She is now in her third year of medical school at UT-Houston and was on campus for the Texas A&M Health Sciences Career Fair.

            Michael Irwin (B.A. 2002) was featured in a recent issue of the official house publication of Dojindo. The article about Michael is posted on the bulletin board outside Room 104 Chemistry. The article is the only thing not written in Japanese. Michael is nearing the completion of an internship there and plans to start graduate school in the United States.


            Anthony Rodriguez (B.A. sent an e-mail recently with the following news. “I just thought that you would like to know that the TAMU chemistry department produced another quality chemist. I have been training for the past couple of weeks as a quality control chemist for Champion Technologies check us out (www.champ-tech.com). There are no other Aggie chemists here but there are some ChemE's. Even though I got a B.A. I was able to be competitive with the B.S. people from "smaller" chemistry departments because of the excellent Aggie chemistry program. As it turns out some of the B.S. people had less instrumentation than me! Those three semesters of Organic Chem are beginning to pay off! Thanks.” You may contact him at: arod236@hotmail.com


            Charles Cipione (B.S. 1989; MBA 1991)) touched base recently as a result of encountering Dr. Bergbrieter on an airplane. “It is good to hear from you as well. I apologize for the late response. I work for a company called Alix Partners. Alix Partners specializes in turning around and/or restructuring troubled companies. Over the past several years I have worked with several large bankrupt clients including WorldCom and Kmart. Unfortunately for everyone else, business has been very good for us over the past three years, but we are starting to see a change in climate.

              On a personal note, my wife, Susan ('90), and I have two children. Charles Jr. is 12 and Anne is 8. We live in the suburbs of Dallas. Please add me to your Orbitals distribution list. I hope everything is well in Aggieland.” Friends may contact Charles at:



            Aaron Justice (B.S 2003) is a co-author on a recent publication in the Journal of Organic Chemistry. The complete citation is: “Cyanide-Catalyzed Cyclizations via Aldimine Coupling,” by B. Jesse E. Reich, Aaron K. Justice, Brittany T. Beckstead, Joseph H. Reibenspies, and Stephen A. Miller, J. Org. Chem. 2004, 69, 1357-1359.  


            The College of Science has recently set up the following web site to try and increase awareness of scholarships available to majors in the college. The web site is: http://www.science.tamu.edu/scholarships.asp#chem

            A few of the details are still in the process of being worked out but I encourage you to utilize this site. It works for currently enrolled and entering freshmen. The IUCCP-A.E. Martell Scholarships are not yet listed here but we hope to put them up soon. Please bear with us as we try to put this new system in place. Dr. Tim Scott, associate dean of science, has been responsible for this improvement in communication.

            In the meantime, you may begin to use this site to apply for the scholarships for undergraduate chemistry majors but you can rest assured that I will always send out an announcement about these or other scholarships for which I am soliciting applications. Many times the restrictions on the scholarships (e.g. the Hach Scholarships are for those people who plan to become high school chemistry teachers) allows me to contact a small group of individuals who I know qualify. However, this will allow us to make sure we don’t miss any qualified applicants.

            All currently enrolled undergraduate chemistry majors are routinely considered for the IUCCP-A.E. Martell scholarships at the end of each semester. Once grades are received, I go through the complete list of chemistry majors and pretty much award the available scholarships based on cumulative GPR to students who, in almost every case, do not already hold a major scholarship. I also evaluate the entering freshmen in much the same way to try and offer some of the IUCCP-A.E. Martell Scholarships to those highly qualified freshmen who did not receive major university scholarships. In the case of the entering freshmen, the evaluation is based largely, but not entirely, on SAT and high school rank. Career plans and math and science preparation are among other major factors considered. Our policy is to try to spread the scholarship money to as many deserving students as possible. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me in person, by phone or e-mail to inquire about these scholarships.

            As I was writing this today, I received notice that the Hach Scientific Foundation has announced that they will fund six $6000 scholarships for undergraduate chemistry majors for the 2004-2005 academic year. At least half of these scholarships must be for students planning teaching careers.


            The following two web site may be of interest to you as you seek career information related to chemistry. The first site is maintained by the Career Service Center at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. It has links to many additional sites which have job listings for chemistry majors. The site is: http://www.uncwil.edu/stuaff/career/Majors/chemistry.htm

            Another very useful site is maintained by Professor Harry E. Pence of SUNY Oneonta. Again, this site has links to lots of others: http://employees.oneonta.edu/pencehe/jobsearch.html

            Listed below are some additional web sites you may find useful:



http//www.uncwil.edu/stuaff/career/Majors/chemistry.htm (Scroll down to find job web sites when you go here)









            I found the following web site yesterday. It is a collection of chemistry songs written to the tune of some famous music. When you call up the song, the music will play over your speakers so you can sing along. Check it out. It's pretty cool. The songs cover a broad spectrum of chemistry. The tunes range from Phantom of the Opera to Sound of Music to Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” to “Delilah” by Tom Jones. Try to find one that has a song whose tune you recognize. Wait a few second after you click on a given song and the music will start.