What’s Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #117 May 6, 2005


[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 Thursday, April 28 in the Faculty Club on campus. The banquet, arranged by Jennifer Goss, president of the ACS Student Affiliate Chapter, on behalf of the Chemistry Department and the Student Affiliate Chapter, was attended by about 75-80 students, faculty, teaching assistants and parents.

            Dr. Hogg and Dr. 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, the Texas A&M Section of the American Chemical Society and from Dr. Hogg. Recipients of all awards were selected by the members of the Chemistry Department’s Undergraduate Awards Committee. Congratulations to these outstanding students!

            Chemistry Department Outstanding Undergraduate Awards ($200 and a certificate) - Given to two outstanding seniors this year.


Amanda L. Higginbotham and Amanda K. Jenkins

            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)


Kendall S. Fruchey, Ashley D. Leonard, Anna K. Schell, and Brently J. Smith

Juniors(3rd Year Students)

            Brian J. Cole, Adam H.-M Dao, Jorja L. Duffin, Nicholas A. Grizzle, Ann H. Henderson, David M. Pyle, and Casseday P. Richers

            Outstanding Chemistry Majors in Sophomore Organic ($50 and a certificate):

Six students from the majors and honors sections were chosen to share this award:


Nicole R. Honesty, Kelly M. Martinez, Joshua L. Owen, Carissa J. Smith and Lauren M. Spencer

            Merck Index Award (a copy of the Merck Index presented by Merck) - Given to a graduating senior planning to attend professional school.

            Jess R. Miller

            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) Four students were chosen to receive this award. They are:


Rebekah A. Condit, Alfredo E. Echeverria, Amelia W. Freeman and William S. Foley

            Hugh McLean Jr. Award ($200) - Given to a graduating senior who has shown outstanding dedication, perseverance and desire in pursuit of the degree. Three students were selected for this award this year.


Matthew J. Devay, Erin L. Donahoe, and Abigail L. Wooddell

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

            Anna K. Schell

            ACS Leadership Award ($100) - The award for outstanding leadership in the student ACS chapter went to:

            Jennifer M. Goss

            The Hypercube Scholar Award (a certificate and a $1000 software package presented by Hypercube, Inc.) to an outstanding undergraduate chemistry major).

            Kendall S. Fruchey


            ACS student affiliate chapter officers and committee chairs for 2005-2006 year were announced at the banquet. They will be: Trevor Ewers, president; Matt Bell, vice-president; Erin Cochran, treasurer; Nicole Honesty, secretary; Carissa Smith, historian; Sheena Ellis, fundraising chair; Katie Regan, academic chair; Lauren Sprouse, community service; Matt Keyser, risk management; Sarah Stranahan, web site; and Elvia Martinez, social chair. 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/


            Dr. David Bergbreiter, Eppright Professor of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence and Professor of Chemistry, was announced as the recipient of the Wells Fargo Honors Faculty Mentor Award on April 6. He was selected for this honor by students registered for honors classes at Texas A&M University. On May 5, Dr. Bergbreiter was informed that he had been honored as a runner-up for the Presidential Professor of Teaching Excellence Award presented each spring by President Robert Gates. He will receive a cash award of $10,000. Only two faculty are chosen for this award each year. Dr. Bergbreiter was nominated for this honor by the Chemistry Department and then was chosen as the sole College of Science nominee for the University-wide competition. Dr. Bergbreiter has been a faculty member at A&M for thirty one years. Congratulations Dr. Bergbreiter!


              On May 4, Dr. John Hogg , Thaman Professor of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence and Professor of Chemistry, was presented a university-level Association of Former Students Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching. Ten such awards, consisting of a plaque, a gold watch and a $4000 check, are presented by the Association of Former Students each spring. The marks the third university-level AFS award Dr. Hogg has received in his thirty years at Texas A&M. Only three faculty members have received three such awards in the fifty year history of the awards program. He previously received the teaching award in 1982 and the award for outstanding student relationships in 1989. Dr. Hogg was nominated for the award by a group of undergraduate chemistry majors.


            Dr. Michael Hall, Davidson Professor of Science and Professor of Chemistry, was presented an Association of Former Students Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for Research at the same ceremony on May 4. Dr. Hall’s research as a theoretical chemist with an emphasis on inorganic chemistry was highly praised by those who nominated him for this award. He has published more than 200 papers and maintained his research program while assuming a variety of administrative duties in the University. He formerly served as Head of the Department of Chemistry and is currently director of the Laboratory for Molecular Simulation, executive associate dean of the College of Science and associate director of the Institute for Scientific Computation. He has also been on the faculty at A&M for thirty years. Congratulations, Dr. Hall.

            Information about these AFS awards will be posted shortly at the AFS web site: http://www.aggienetwork.com/events/distachieveuniv.aspx



            Andrew Shuff, double degree student in chemistry and chemical engineering, will spend the summer as a participant in the Student Undergraduate Laboratory Internship Program at Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University. He will be working on a project involving the kinetics and mechanism of alkyl group transfer to activated oxygen under the supervision of Dr. Andreja Bakac.

            Amanda Higginbotham, B.S. chemistry major graduating this month, will enter the graduate chemistry program at Rice University.

            Kendall Fruchey, who will receive B.S. degrees in both chemistry and physics this month, will enter graduate school at Stanford University this fall to pursue a Ph.D. in physical chemistry.

            Sarah Stranahan, sophomore chemistry and biochemistry major, has been accepted into the NSF-REU University of Idaho-Washington State University Green Chemistry Program for the summer.

            Ashley Leonard, B.S. chemistry major graduating this month, will enter the graduate chemistry program at Rice University.

            Amanda Jenkins, B.S. chemistry major graduating this month, will enter law school at Baylor this fall.

            Ashley Elizondo, B.A. chemistry major graduating this month, will enter dental school at UT-San Antonio.

            Brad Cannon, B.A. chemistry major graduating this month, will enter Oklahoma State University for graduate school. He will be in the Environmental Sciences graduate program doing work on water resources and watershed management. He completed the environmental chemistry track with his B.A. degree in chemistry.

            Anna Schell, B.S. chemistry major graduating this month, has accepted a scholarship to enter The College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University this fall. She plans to pursue a career in forensics. 

            Michael Sarahan, B.S. chemistry major graduating this month, has accepted a position with PPG, Industries in Lake Charles, Louisiana.


            Thomas (Tommy) Miller (B.S. 2000) will finish his Ph.D. in chemistry at The University of Oxford this summer, get married in August, and he and Nicola will move to San Francisco to do a post-doc at UC-Berkeley in September. You may e-mail him at the following address until later this summer: thomas.miller@balliol.oxford.ac.uk 

            Amelia Hessheimer (B.S. 2003) sent the following update by e-mail recently. “Hello, Dr. Hogg. Hope life in Texas is treating you well. I am currently in the middle of studying for a pharmacology exam (no memorizing of drug structures and not much actual chemistry involved - more learning about which ones will make you barf or give you the runs!). Anyway, I welcome your Orbitals email as a chance to break from studying. I am finishing up my second year at Vanderbilt Medical School. This June I'm gonna take the first step of the medical licensing exam. In July, I'll start a year of research (taking off a year of medical school) with the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer Group in Barcelona, Spain. I am very excited to have the opportunity to live in Spain again (I did a semester of biochemistry research in Madrid as a TAMU undergrad) and to do some very interesting research. The group that I am going to work with is one of the most well renowned in the world with respect to their abilities to diagnose and treat hepatocellular carcinoma. Furthermore, they are actively investigating living donor liver transplantation, a procedure that is so much at the forefront of transplant technology that it is only being done in a few places in the US (not including Vanderbilt!). Anyway, that's my life of late.” You can e-mail Amelia: amelia.j.hessheimer@vanderbilt.edu

            Yeo Ju Choi (B.A. 2004 Chemistry and English) provided the following e-mail news recently. “H i Dr. Hogg! I told you last spring that I was going to take a year off after graduating to apply to graduate schools, so I just wanted to let you know that I'll be starting my PhD in English at Vanderbilt in the fall. I'm really excited, and the department head there thinks it would interesting for me to do some interdisciplinary studies with chemistry, although I'm not quite sure how that will work. :) I hope everything's going well with you. You may

            Belated congratulations to Natalie (Bell) Easley (B.S. 2004) who sent an e-mail saying she was planning to get married in April. Natalie wrote: “Hi Dr. Hogg, How are you? I thought I would email you to let you know what I'm doing after graduating in Dec. '04. I started my new job at the Plano Police Department as a Criminalist in January. I do crime scene investigation which includes field and lab work. I am working the night shift right now until I am finished with training at the end of April. I am really enjoying it so far, but I'm looking forward to having normal hours again! I'm getting married on April 23, so I have a lot going on right now! I hope you and Aggieland are doing well. Send congratulations to Natalie at: nataliebell@neo.tamu.edu


              Dr. Shelley Lenamond (B.A. 1998) has written to say that she and her family have moved to Rockwall, Texas where they have purchased a new home. If you are planning to go to Rockwall, contact Shelley: shellenamond@hotmail.com


            Cameron Hall (B.A. 2004) planned a visit recently but that fell through so she sent the following e-mail. “Dr. Hogg, my College Station plans have fallen through. I was going to be coming down with Matt (Roberts, A&M PPA program '04, the fiance) because he had a KPMG recruiting event on Friday. But that event fell through and so he will have to work instead. I'm really sorry - I had gotten my hopes up. I'm sure I'll be down sometime this summer - hopefully I can see you then. Now I guess we'll have to just catch up through e-mail. Let's see...I've been working as a vet tech at the Emergency Animal Clinic in Dallas since October. I'm learning a lot and getting lots of "animal experience" that I need for vet school applications. I even get to use chemistry..."let's see, our Ampicillin is concentrated at 100 mg/ml and I need 500 mg...how many cc's is that?" See?! Chemistry at work! ;-) I've also taken the occasional substitute teaching job in Highland Park, mostly for my middle school language arts teacher. Talk about feeling old! Actually, I don't feel old at all, since other faculty members routinely mistake me for an 8th grader. Also this spring I took two Internet courses through the DCCCD for vet school pre-reqs - speech communications and technical writing. They are wrapping up this week, which marks the end of my education until vet school!
A lot of time time in recent months, though, has been devoted to the wedding! It's coming up in less than two months, so things are really coming to a head. I'm relying on on Amanda Higginbotham to help me with the details as one of my bridesmaids - she knows much more about weddings than I ever will. And how are you? Your children? Any juicy chemistry department or A&M news I've missed out on up here in Dallas?
I hope you are doing well, and I'm truly sorry I won't get to see you on Friday.” You may e-mail Cameron at:


            Jared Benedict (B.S. 2002) contacted me with the following update on his life recently. “Hey Dr. Hogg, how is life in Aggieland? Austin is treating me nice. I realized recently that I have never contacted you concerning my new job here. On top of that, there have been some pretty big life changes for me recently. As of January 1 2005, I am set to marry my girlfriend of 5 years René Heffernan. She went to Texas State but I won't hold that against her. My new job however might be of interest to some people at A&M (mostly biology/biochem people). I now work as a senior quality control associate at a company called Luminex Corporation. We have pioneered an open ended assay platform that allows for various types of testing including allergy, autoimmune, isotyping, cytokine testing, as well as any form of infectious disease testing including AIDS testing. The beauty of our technology is that it allows you to develop your own assay to make it do whatever you want it to do. In a nutshell, we make polystyrene microspheres, or beads as we call them. The beads are dyed internally to give them unique identities, and carboxyl groups attached to the outside. In turn, any receptor that can be coupled to an existing carboxyl group on the outside of the bead, can in turn be analyzed on our platform. We are a pretty new company. We have been traded publicly since 1999 and our technology is just starting to take off. Our website is http://www.luminexcorp.com . If you go under "XMap technology" at the top, and choose overview, there are a few Flash presentations that explain it in further detail. Anyways, I need to get back to work. I hope all is going well. Gig Em!” Thanks for the information, Jared. You may contact Jared at: jbenedict@luminexcorp.com


            Lorraine Lyman (B.A. 1997) will complete her M.S. degree in chemistry this month at Carnegie Mellon University. Lorraine worked in industry for several years before returning to graduate school.





             The application forms for the George C. Bauer Scholarship(s) are now available, for chemistry majors only, in Room 104 Chemistry from Ms. Marylin Warren. The scholarship(s) (which could range up to $1500) are for the 2004-2005 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 2004-05 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 2004 grades are submitted to make the decisions.




            We will make the final decisions on several undergraduate chemistry scholarships once the spring semester final grades are received. Regardless of whether or not you applied for one of our scholarships by using the College of Science web site, all undergraduate chemistry majors will automatically be considered for these scholarships according to the policy outlined earlier and repeated here.

            Consistent with the specific scholarship guidelines we will evaluate all chemistry majors for all of these scholarships. All currently enrolled undergraduate chemistry majors are routinely considered for the chemistry department scholarships and the College of Science scholarships targeted to chemistry majors at the end of each semester. Once grades are received, I go through the complete list of chemistry majors and we award the available scholarships based on cumulative GPR to students who, in almost every case, do not already hold a major scholarship. If there are additional restrictions applicable to a given scholarship as there are for the Hach Scientific Foundation teacher scholarships, I will consider people who meet the criteria whether or not they have applied directly through the College of Science web site. In some cases, as has been done earlier for the Hach Scientific Foundation teacher scholarships, I may send out a general e-mail to all chemistry majors asking those who feel they meet the criteria to contact our office. 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 any of these scholarships. For scholarships where applications are required, please stop by Room 104 Chemistry to pick up the application from Dr. Hogg.


            Scholarships for which we will be making decisions soon include:


IUCCP-A.E. Martell Scholarships- outstanding chemistry majors of any classification.


Dow Aggies Scholarships - outstanding junior or senior chemistry majors.


George C. Bauer Scholarship is offered in honor of a former outstanding teacher in the department. Application required; financial need is a major factor; junior or senior chemistry major.


Sharon Merritt Birtcher Scholarship is for students planning to become teachers; must have so indicated to Dr. Hogg and provide evidence of pursuit of the plan.


Dr. Minoru Tsutsui Memorial Scholarship is a recently endowed scholarship in honor of a former chemistry faculty member. Given to a chemistry major who is a Texas resident and plans a career in industry; financial need and achievement considered; application required.


Dr. Herman A. Liebhafsky Scholarship is a recently endowed scholarship in honor of a former faculty member. Given to a chemistry major based on financial need and achievement; preference for someone from a “rural” Texas area; application required.


Eileen and Harry Lewis Scholarship is a recently endowed scholarship in honor of Eileen Lewis ‘65 and Harry (Hank) Lewis ‘65. Preference given to a female chemistry major based on financial need and not primarily academic achievement; application required.


Hach Scientific Foundation Scholarships for students planning to become teachers; must have so indicated to Dr. Hogg.


            In all cases, students will be provided with the address of the scholarship sponsor and asked to provide a written thank you note to the sponsor with a copy being forwarded to our office. Students who fail to provide the thank you notes will not be considered for future scholarships as per College of Science policy. All scholarships will be considered on a semester-by semester basis but the expectation is that students will hold the scholarship for at least one academic year, and in many cases for up to four, provided they meet the grade and other requirements.