What's Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #112 October 5, 2004

         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



            Thirty undergraduate chemistry majors received $1000 IUCCP-A.E. Martell Undergraduate Chemistry Scholarships for the 2004-05 academic year. The funds for these scholarships are provided by contributions from the members and associate members of the Industry University Cooperative Chemistry Program. The department and the students gratefully acknowledge this support. The scholarship recipients and company sponsors are listed below with the first-year students marked with an asterisk.

              BASF Corporation (Trevor Ewers, Jeffrey Karnes*, Melissa Loontjer, Lauren Sprouse); Celanese, Ltd. (Kelly DeCock, Ashlee Jahnke*, Chance McInnis, Andrew Shuff); Dow Chemical U.S.A. (Nicholas Grizzle, Adam King, Ashley Leonard, Megan Stussi*); E.I. DuPont de Nemours (Scott Johnsgard*, Matthew Keyser, Caitlyn Smith, Sarah Wisecup); Gradipore, Ltd. (Brent Norris, Joshua Owen*, Meghan Stroh, Sarah Swingle); Sasol North America (James Adams, Jessica Cuccio, Eric Hendrickson, Carissa Smith); Shell Chemical Company (Erin Castillo, Jess Miller, Anna Schell, Johnathan Williams*); Abbott Laboratories (Christopher Dalrymple, Omid Noormohammadi)


            Amanda Jenkins, Hannah Malcolm, Eleanor Pate and Blake Yarbrough have each been awarded Dow Aggies Scholarships in the amount of $1450 for the 2004-2005 academic year. Jenkins and Pate are senior chemistry majors and Malcolm and Yarbrough are juniors. The award is presented in recognition of their outstanding academic performance with funds provided by former students who are now employed by The Dow Chemical Company.


            Six undergraduate chemistry majors were recognized with scholarships from the Hach Scientific Foundation of Loveland, Colorado for the 2004-2005 academic year. Students were selected based on scholarship, character, cooperation and aspiration to make a contribution to the teaching profession. A 3.00 GPR and full-time student status were additional requirements. Students receiving $6000 scholarships are: Claire Borne, Brian Cole, Traci Germer, Lauren Nieto, Roxanna Schaffino, Abigail Wooddell. Nieto is a sophomore, Borne and Cole are juniors and Germer, Schaffino and Wooddell are seniors who plan to become high school teachers.


            Several new scholarships were awarded to chemistry majors for the first time this fall. These 2004-05 scholarships honor former students and or chemistry faculty.

            Hoa Chau, junior chemistry major, received the $2000 Eileen and Harry Lewis Scholarship.

            Nicholas Huggins, junior chemistry major, received the $2000 Herman Liebhafsky Scholarship.

            Brentley Smith, senior chemistry and philosophy major, received the $2000 Minoru Tsutsui Memorial Scholarship.

            Also receiving previously established scholarships were the following.

            Rachel Wooley, junior chemistry major, received the $2000 Sharon Merritt Birtcher Scholarship.

            Lucki Quirindongo, sophomore chemistry major, received the $1950 George C. Bauer Scholarship.



            Roxanna Schaffino, senior chemistry major, is doing her student teaching at A&M Consolidated High School in College Station this semester under the supervision of Ms. Kristen Jones. She is teaching pre-AP and AP chemistry and, to quote Roxanna, she"absolutely loves it."

            Quinn Lung, senior chemistry major, sent some news of his adventures in Washington, D.C."Hi everyone, I just wanted to give an update on how things are going for me here in DC. My main job here has been contacting scientists to work on various publications. I'm glad that I have been exposed to scientific publications in the past, or else I would probably be pretty lost. Next week, I'll be attending a symposium put on by the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics on the topic of "Partnering for Enhanced Research." I guess even Ph.D.s need reminders and pointers on how to work well with others. I haven't had to use hard chemistry knowledge like I would in a lab (no organic synthesis here!), but I've had exposure to related topics, such as genetics, microbiology, and water quality management." Quinn is working as an intern with the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology in Washington. You may contact him at: qlung@cast-science.org 


            Nathan Lett (B.S. 2000) sent the following e-mail recently detailing his latest adventures."After reading the latest issue, I thought I might as well provide an update as well. First off, my son Josh celebrated his second birthday in July and he's definitely acting out, with full force I might add, the "terrible two"-stereotype on me and my wife. Secondly, we're having our first house built in Cypress, just outside of Houston, so I'll get to enjoy the pains and joys of home ownership in about 60 days. Looks like I'll finally have a reason to complain about taxes. Of course, the biggest news is that I'm about to make a significant career change; leaving the oil and gas industry and going into the medical field. I'll be joining Cardinal Health Systems here in Houston in about two weeks at their 18FDG (2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose) Synthesis Lab. It's going to be a serious change in both what I do and the lifestyle I lead, but I'm really looking forward to it. Being an analytical chemist with a 9-to-5 job for the past three-plus years has been enjoyable, but I've been itching to try something different and I think radioisotope manufacturing on the"graveyard shift" is about as different as it's going to get. I can say that I'm glad I finally get to put the things I learned in Dr. Yennello's Nuclear and Radiochemistry course to good use. Short term, I'm going to be trained to be the site engineer, so I've got a good old Physics refresher and plenty of course work on the intricate workings of a cyclotron ahead of me. Long term, I'm considering moving into the nuclear pharmacist track with Cardinal which will hopefully give me the opportunity to help my wife go back to school to be a nurse. So, it's going to be a busy finish to 2004 and an even busier 2005. Hope all is going well in Aggieland!" Nathan actually joined Cardinal Health Systems in Houston on September 20. His new e-mail address is: nathan.lett@cardinal.com

            Jason Link (B.S. 1999) has accepted an offer from Agilent Technologies in their life sciences division out in Wilmington, DE. It's primarily an instrument development position for GC and GC/MS systems. He is currently writing his Ph.D. dissertation and has hopes of defending it sometime in October. You may still contact him at the University of North Carolina for the present time at: jasonlink@Unc.edu

            Scott Peterson (B.S. 2004) has entered the environmental engineering program here at Texas A&M University to pursue a master's degree. Contact him at: sxotty@neo.tamu.edu

            Dr. Dagang (Larry) Tang (B.S. 1994) sent the following update, along with some family photos, on his life recently."Thank you very much for keeping us updated with ORBITALS. I'm sorry I haven't been very good keeping you informed of my life here as a radiology fellow. Life is a bit crazy here in St. Louis. Our work and our daughter, Mira, have kept us very busy. I'm currently a clinical fellow in musculoskeletal radiology at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in Barnes-Jewish Hospital. My wife is a second year resident in ophthalmology. I finished my radiology oral boards in June this year and I'm very happy now that I can pick up my daughter from the day care on time everyday. She stayed there many days until 8 p.m. because of my boards reviews and her mom's call responsibilities. Supposedly, life should be easier now after June. But responsibility comes with seniority. Although I don't have to do everything by myself now since I work with residents most of the time, I am ultimately responsible for all the studies we read. There is a lot of checking and rechecking since sometimes either the resident didn't understand what I meant or I did not convey my thoughts clearly. With all that, I still love what I do. Radiology is a challenging field that has a lot of potentials given the development in technology. The learning seems endless. We have not decided ultimately where we're going to be. St. Louis potentially is a long-term resolution since both Jen and I like the city a lot. I would still like to consider Texas sometime down the road since both of my parents are living happily in Houston. I'd like to be close to my family and they'd love to see their granddaughter as much as they can. They're enjoying their lives in Houston despite working full time. They're now in China, celebrating my grandmother's 100th birthday. Life is good. I don't know if you know a former student Jeff Carenza. He's a 2nd year resident here from A&M undergrad and med school. He told me he minored in chemistry. Good guy. If any of your students are interested in going to med school or coming to Washington University for med school, please feel free to give them my email address. I'd be happy to give them the inside scoop. Say hi to Marilyn for me if she's still working for you. You may contact Larry at: tanglawrence@yahoo.com

            Trent Weiss (B.S. 1991) got in touch with me recently after another student managed to let him know I'd like to hear from him. It had been quite awhile. Trent provided the following information."I am back in Houston (since 2001), my daughter Elaine is almost ten, and I have been married to Tammy now for 12 years. I am working as a production unit superintendent for Lubrizol in Deer Park. I am using my combined Chemistry/Chemical Engineering studies to make some major improvements here. I also like the practical duties managing Operators. Last year I achieved my Professional Engineer license by testing, and then had an opportunity to work with NCEES this spring on future chemical PE exams. My government experience was positive, and I am also glad to be back in manufacturing. I have the two Masters Degrees (Org Chem, Chem Eng), and am not sure if more college is in store for me. Sometimes I consider MBAs or a Chemistry PhD but we shall see." Friends may contact Trent at: trentweiss@yahoo.com

            Erin (Docking) Batig (B.S. 2002) has obviously gotten married and sent the following details recently."I always read Orbitals when you send it out and say that I need to send you an e-mail and update you (and everyone else) on my life. Well, I finally have something interesting to say. I got married in August to my sweetie of four years, Bradley Batig (A&M Class of '02, B.S. Political Science). We got married in a gazebo on the beach in Nassau, Bahamas (luckily 2 weeks before Frances hit!). It was gorgeous and we had an amazing trip. We both recently moved to Pearland, TX to finally be able to live together. Brad graduated from Baylor Law School in July and started his job as an attorney at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, & Feld in Houston. June marked my 2-year anniversary at Dow Chemical in Freeport, TX. I spent the first 2 years in the Polyolefins Characterization lab working in a GPC lab. I recently moved over to the Plastics Customer Technical Support Center. I really enjoy the increased interaction with other people (labs can be black holes sometimes). I get to field customer questions and use my creative thinking skills to solve problems. I work with a bunch of other Aggies, so we have plenty to talk about after "interesting" A&M football games. Thanks for keeping up with Orbitals, it's always great to hear how my former classmates are doing. I hope this e-mail finds you well - you were always one of my favorite smiling faces in the Chemistry department!" Send congratulations to Erin at:edocking@hotmail.com

            Kate Gallagher (B.S. 2004) has entered the Master's Program in forensic sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She said you could contact her if you'd like information about the program. Her e-mail address is: kmg8677@uab.edu


            Haley Hagg (B.S. 2003) has written from the far north to brag on her roller blading exploits."Just wanted to let you know that I successfully skated 26.2 miles on my roller blades in the Northshore Inline Marathon along the shore of the beautiful Lake Superior this past Saturday. I finished the race in 1 hr 42 minutes and 23 seconds. That works out to an average pace of 3.9 minutes per mile and put me in 323rd place out of some 3,000 plus participants. I guess placing in the top 10% is not too bad, and besides that it was a lot of fun. The leaves are starting to change color up here, so the view outdoors is pretty nice. The cool (61 degrees) breezy weather is great for being outside these days." Haley is in graduate school at the Mayo Graduate School in Rochester, Minnesota. You may contact her at: Hagg.Haley@mayo.edu


            Gabby Guzzio (B.A. ) has moved from San Diego to Atchison, Kansas where she has accepted a job with MPG Ingredients as their QA Chemist. You may contact Gabby at: Gvg1214 @aol.com


            David Trueba (B.S. 2001) spoke to the Horizons in Chemistry class (Chem 100) on September 16 about career opportunities in the chemical industry. David is still with Celanese and may be contacted at: David.Trueba@celanese.com


            Tanya (Tryon) Jensen (B.A. 1995) stopped by for a short visit recently. She was in town to apply for the accelerated on-line teacher certification program offered by Texas A&M. Her e-mail is: tanyajensen@earthlink.net





            Students wishing to earn a minor in mathematics no longer need to visit the Mathematics Department to do so. They should see their advisor to have the math minor entered into SIMS. A math minor can be obtained by meeting the following requirements:

1. 4 credits: Math 151, or 171, or their equivalent

2. 4 credits: Math 152, or 172, or their equivalent 3. 6 credits of 300 or 400 level Mathematics courses

4. 3 credits of 400 level Mathematics courses

5. Earn a C or better in each course

None of Math 131, 141, 142, 365, 366, 367, 368, 403, or 485 may be used to satisfy requirements 1 through 4 above.



            Dr. Simon North, associate professor of chemistry, was recognized with an Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching at the College of Science faculty meeting on September 28. Congratulations, Dr. North.



            Several former students are scheduled to speak to the Chemistry 100 class throughout the rest of the semester. The class meets on Thursdays from 3:55-4:45 p.m. in Room 100 chemistry. This is a great opportunity to hear these former students give their insights about what it is like out there in"the real world." Everyone is welcome to attend these presentations.

            In addition to David Trueba, who has already spoken to the class, the following speakers are scheduled:

            October 7 - Christopher Loo (B.S. 2000) will speak about his experiences in the M.D./Ph.D. program at the Baylor College of Medicine where he is currently in his 5th year.

            October 21 - Ben Cieslinski (B.S. 1998) will discuss his position as an Analytical Laboratory Supervisor for Severn Trent Laboratories in Austin.

            October 28 - Sarah Holt (B.A. 2003) will give students some insight into what its like in Pharmacy School at the University of Texas.

            November 4 - Dr. Daniel Romo (B.A. 1986) will discuss his research program in organic synthesis at Texas A&M and describe his journey from an undergraduate at A&M planning to enter dental school to his current position as professor of chemistry at A&M.

            November 11 or December 7 - Angie Wacker (B.A. 1999) will tell students what its like to be a Forensic Scientist with the DEA Regional Crime Lab in Dallas.

            December 2 - James Mahac (B.A. 1994) will describe his duties as Global Marketing Manager for Fuels, Lubricants and Oilfield Applications at the Huntsman Corporation in The Woodlands.



            The annual Chemistry Open House and Science Exploratorium is scheduled from 10 am - 3 pm on Saturday, October 30th. The date was picked to be between football games. Hands-on activities will be between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm. Last year we had 700 people come through, so this year there will be three Chemistry Road Shows presented by John Hogg at 10am, 12 noon and 2pm with drawings for Chemistry and Science stuff after each show. There will also be goodie bags for the first 700 people.

            Dr. Wendy Keeney-Kennicutt is looking for people to help out at the reception area and to run booths of fun hands-on demos. E-mail Dr. Kennicutt if you would like to volunteer to help out. Her e-mail is: kennicutt@mail.chem.tamu.edu