What’s Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #122

March 1, 2006

         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


            Tommie (T.A.) Hennard (B.A. 1991) sent an e-mail in January with an update on his current location after receiving the February issue of Orbitals. Ever the world traveler, he and his family are now back in Norway. “Thanks for keeping us all "in the loop" across the world. I have a little bit of news from my end. I have just been named the middle and high school principal here at the International School of Stavanger starting this past August. This was my first overseas job, way back in 1996, and now 10 years later it will be my first administrative position as well. My wife, Rebecca, and my 2-year old son Ross are doing well and we are looking forward to remaining in Norway for a while.” You may e-mail T.A. and let him know when you plan to visit at: t_a_h_3@hotmail.com

              Erin Witt (B.S. 2000) and E.J. Hook were united in marriage on January 21, 2006 in Knoxville, Tennessee and then enjoyed a honeymoon in Maui. Immediately after returning to Houston on January 30, Erin had to depart for Del Rio to appear as an expert witness for the very first time in Federal Court the next morning. Erin is living in Laredo and EJ is living in NY until they sell their house in NY. Erin was formerly employed at a nuclear power plant in New York. She is now employed with the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Forensic Scientist (Drug Analysis). Friends may contact Erin at: bonfire00@yahoo.com

            Melanie Ledwig (B.A. 2002 and M.S. in math in 2004) sent the following (slightly edited) e-mail in early February. “Hey Dr. Hogg. How are you doing? How is the new semester going? How is Marilyn doing? Things here are good. I am enjoying my job here in Victoria. I get to teach lots of different courses, from developmental math to Calculus III. Lots and lots of fun. Sometimes it feels like I am doing an awful job, but sometimes it’s great. Last year, my Calculus 3 class loved me and gave me a nice present at the end of the semester. They spent about $150 on me! That really made me feel good. And this semester, I have a class that just does not care for me. I guess that’s how teaching goes. Dr. Rowe once said that if you have a bad semester, it’s okay b/c you get to start over the next semester.

            My sister, Melinda (B.A. 2002 and M.S. in Education in 2003), is doing well. She is teaching high school chemistry in Denton. She and her husband are now in the donkey business. They now have 5 donkeys – 1 jack, 3 jennies, and a baby jack they have already sold. There is nothing cuter than a baby donkey! And these guys are all minis so they are tiny. They could walk right out from under you.

            I still talk to Amy McMahon (B.A. 2003). We went to a Big and Rich/Gretchen Wilson concert a couple of months ago. She is doing so well! I have never seen her so happy. She works in Austin at Pharmaform and got a promotion not too long ago. Last time we saw each other we were reminiscing about the good old days in chemistry. You know, when life was easy b/c we were still in school.

            Anyway, I better get back to work. I have to write a test and I have a student supposedly coming in to see me. Have a good rest of the week and weekend.Friends may contact Melanie at: Melanie.Ledwig@victoriacollege.edu

            Lindy (Sparks) Stoll (B.S. 1994) has provided an e-mail update of her family life that I hope she won’t mind me sharing with you. It was written after hearing of the accident in the chemistry department in January. “I know that things must continue to be very busy for you with such a hectic start to the semester, so please don't feel obligated to respond anytime soon! I just wanted to thank you for keeping the information coming on TAMU's chemistry program. Not surprisingly, I had not heard about the explosion, and I enjoy reading the Orbitals issues that you publish.

            Things are going well here. I'm still a stay-at-home mom in Louisville, KY. Joe and Tyler (now 3 years old) are so much fun, and I really enjoy watching their personalities, interests, and abilities unfold. Michael (18 months) is a big and very sweet boy, albeit with a streak of mischievousness. People ask me if I worry about him being ganged up on by his big brothers, but I'm certain that he will be able to hold his own just fine. I'm just finishing my year-long term as President of the Louisville Mothers of Twins Club. This is a roughly 250-member non-profit organization that supports mothers of multiple-birth children in and around the Metro Louisville area. It's been a rewarding yet challenging position, and I am looking forward to handing over the reins in a few weeks. The twins club commitment and running after three boys more than fill up my days! In just a few short years that will change when the boys start school. I'm looking forward to recreating for the boys' classrooms some of the demonstrations I learned from you and Dr. Peck at the mall during the annual Chemistry Week displays. As you might imagine, I'm reminded often of the water-absorbing trick you would do with the inner diaper materials! I hope that things do become more settled for you and the rest of the department soon. I also hope that your family is doing well. Please pass along warm wishes to Dr. Peck in his upcoming retirement. Please say "Hi!" to Marylin for me, too!” Friends may e-mail Lindy with offers to babysit at: lindy.stoll@insightbb.com

            Lacy Martin (B.S. 2005) reports the following from Qatar. “Hi Dr. Hogg! I am sorry to hear about what happened to the Chemistry building. Hopefully everyone has adapted to the situation. I assume they will be repairing the mess. As for me, I moved over to Qatar in mid-January to start work. It has been very nice so far. Making the move here and adjusting turned out to be much easier than I anticipated. I am now driving around town without a map, so that’s an accomplishment. I like my job, but it has been keeping me busy. I am in charge of organizing and teaching two general chemistry lab courses (107 and 102), about 60 students. I will also be doing the analytical lab this fall and it will be the first time it is offered here. I hope to start doing research in early May as well. Organizing the labs takes much more time than I thought and this is my first attempt at teaching, so it has been interesting. Other than work, not much has been going on. I have an online photo album if you’d like to see pictures of TAMUQ and what I’ve been up to http://laceym5.myphotoalbum.com. I hope you are doing well, and good luck with your work this semester! Take care.” You may contact Lacy at: lacey.martin@qatar.tamu.edu

            Amy McMahon (B.A. 2003) sent the following e-mail recently. “Hello sir, both Marinette and Melanie have been after me to get in touch with you for some time and I have been too lazy. Put me back on the mailing list for orbitals, if you please. Marinette just forwarded me the news about Nnenna on America's Next Top Model and that's wild! It reminded me that I needed to get in touch with you.

            I'm doing well, though I am surrounded by Longhorns. I moved to Austin about a year and a half ago for a new job. I'm working at a smallish and growing pharmaceuticals company. I get a lot of flack for being an Aggie, turns out I'm the only one in the whole company - I wouldn't mind changing this! I am a section manager. I oversee my own work as well as the work of three others so I stay pretty busy and that's a good thing. It's really testing my patience and social skills which is probably also a good thing.

            I work mainly with Oxycodone-type painkillers that are in clinical trials for the FDA. It's definitely high stress lately, our clients keep flying in and scrutinizing my data because they have to file with the FDA in a few months and they want it all perfect.

            We are currently expanding the company and I would be happy to pass on any resumes that you might have. We have positions open in the Analytical lab on the QC side as well as R&D. QC is routine testing and requires little to no experience just a good work ethic, it's also a great place to start out and gain experience. The R&D people are a little more involved and prefer candidates with some HPLC and industry experience. It probably starts on the low end of the pay scale, but it's Austin not Houston so you make some sacrifices. If you know of anyone who is looking send them my way and I'll do my best to make the Aggie Network proud. My contact information is amcmahon@pharmaform.com or amymcmahon@earthlink.net

            Dr. Tara (Decuir) Todd (B.S. 1992, Ph.D. 1997) is now teaching in the general chemistry program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Her contact information is: tara.todd@vanderbilt.edu

            Dr. Eddie Moler (B.S. 1989) sent a holiday card with pictures of his two children (Elizabeth and Joey). Eddie and his wife, Jane) live in Walnut Creek, California and Eddie works at Chiron.

            Dr. Christine (Mullen) Barondeau (B.S. 1994) sent a holiday letter with pictures of her family (Dave and the three kids). Christine and Dave will be visiting A&M this week as we are trying to lure them both back to Texas A&M University from San Diego.


            Information about applying for College of Science scholarships may be found at: http://www.science.tamu.edu/scholarships.asp#chem

            You may use this site to apply for the scholarships listed 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 meeting the qualifications. 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.


            The following was received from The Proctor and Gamble Company recently: We wanted to make you aware of a new program we are very excited about, "The Research Your Future in Science Seminar", which will occur the first week of August in Cincinnati, Ohio. We hope you find this program interesting and will help us in reaching potential students who may benefit from attending this Seminar. The Research Your Future in Science Seminar is focused to top Science and Engineering Technology students in their first or second year of a Bachelor's degree or first year of an Associate's degree program. This week-long Seminar showcases how a student could use their degree upon graduation. Throughout the Seminar, students will get the opportunity to be hands-on and participate in lab tours with state-of-the-art technologies, as well as an R&D case study and meet current Researchers in various organizations (Analytical, Process, Products Research, Packaging, etc.) In addition to learning how they may use their degree, students will also see how they fit in at P&G and get the opportunity to interview for a 2007 summer internship prior to any other intern recruiting efforts. Interested students should apply at www.usjobs.pg.com to Job Number RND00000274. The deadline to apply is April 2006 and all travel and accommodations are paid for those selected to attend. We would appreciate your help in marketing this opportunity to potential students. Again, thank you for your support. Please contact me with any questions or visit our website at www.pg.com/scienceseminar for more information. Have a Great Texas A&M University Day!


Erman Cole

The Procter and Gamble Company

5289 Vine Street

Box 1109

Cincinnati, Ohio 45217

(513) 627-5529



            The Peer Advisor Coordinator for the Career Center. Our peer advising program is designed to have students helping other students through such opportunities as student organization presentations, assist walk-in students with professional correspondences (resumes and cover letters), assist with career fairs, and with other Career Center related services.

            Peer advisors can expect to increase their knowledge within the Career Center services, learn how to efficiently navigate through Aggie Launch, how to effectively write professional correspondences, how to assist others with their interviewing and networking skills, and to gain more specific knowledge about their career.

Benefits for the peer advisors include free access to Aggie Launch premium services, continuous development of their career related skills, an opportunity to advise and mentor students, gain valuable public relations and human resource experience, and a free Career Center polo shirt.

            This is an all volunteer student organization that involves a 2-5 hour per week commitment. Other qualifications for participation is that the student must posses a strong interest in career related services, good writing skills, and a commitment to working and helping other students.

            The goal is to have 2-3 peer advisors representing each academic college to be matched up with their Career Coordinator. I have been asked to submit 1-2 names for consideration as peer advisors. If you are interested in having your name submitted, please contact Dr. Hogg as soon as possible.


            TAMU-Corpus Christi School of Nursing currently has a fast-track (a.k.a. accelerated or post-bac) BSN nursing program right here in the B/CS area. It is currently housed at 1301 Memorial by St. Joseph's hospital. A new building is being built to handle this program, I believe that it is also located near St. Joseph's hospital. TAMU Health Science Center in College Station is slated to take over this program and add a generic (2 year) BSN program within this new building. So, by 2007, there will be both a post-bac accelerated BSN and a generic BSN program here in the area. Additional information about this program may be obtained by contacting:

Kate Karstadt

Coordinator, Allied Health Programs

205 Academic Bldg.

4233 TAMU

College Station, Texas




PERSONAL NOTE TO STUDENTS: If you are truly interested in information about my first textbook, you may go to the following web site and click on liberal arts chemistry to find information about “World of Chemistry Essentials (4th edition) by Joesten, Castellion and Hogg. http://www.thomsonedu.com/chemistry/