What=s Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #72

February 2 , 1999

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

written by Dr. John L. Hogg


Seven undergraduate chemistry majors received their degrees at the December 18,1998 commencement ceremonies. Michael A. Cox graduated magna cum laude and with University Honors which means he had completed at least 36 hours of honors courses. Steven E. Walker graduated cum laude. Congratulations go out to all of the graduates.

Bachelor of Arts Graduate was: Steven Eugene Walker

Bachelor of Science Graduates were: Michael Aaron Cox, Robert Arthur Delafield III, Christopher Michael McFarland, David Londono Molina, Matthew John Saathoff, and Michelle Williamson.



Several undergraduate chemistry majors are getting a chance to serve as teaching assistants in the freshman and sophomore organic chemistry program this semester. Each of these people is teaching in addition to taking their normal course load. This is a valuable learning experience for these people.

Undergraduate chemistry majors serving as TA=s this semester are: Chem 101/102: Andrew Bolin and, Cecylee Price; Organic: Sarah Hanna, Jason Link, Alan Maschek, Tommy Miller and Angie Wacker.



Shelley Lenamond (B.A. 1998) has been accepted into the University of North Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine for the fall 1999 term.



Jason Link (senior B.S. chemistry major) has been accepted to graduate school in chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has received a $17,000 teaching assistantship plus a $5,000 fellowship and full tuition waiver. Congratulations Jason.

Stephen Demarest (B.S. 1994) and his wife, Kristen, stopped by for a short visit in December. Stephen is nearing completion of his Ph.D. requirements in chemistry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is working under the direction of Dr. Daniel P. Raleigh in the area of protein folding. Stephen=s e-mail address is: sdemarest@linus.chem.sunysb.edu.

Olga Figueroa (B.S. 1994) and Zachary Searcy (B.S. 1994) have informed me that they are both now in law school at Marquette University. They plan on careers in patent law.

Omar Torres (B.S. 1998)and Kim DeFriend (B.S. 1998) stopped by over the holidays to visit and have lunch. They both reported they are enjoying their graduate studies in chemistry at UCLA and Rice University, respectively.

Dr. Lynda Yang (B.S. 1988) sent a Christmas card from Ann Arbor to say she is doing fine and is now a practicing neurosurgeon. She reports that Rebecca Strnad (B.S. 1986) is working in a small animal practice outside of Boston. I know Rebecca is married now but do not know her married name.

Christine (Mullen) Barondeau (B.S. 1994) send along a Christmas card which included a picture of her son Matthew and husband David (Ph.D. 1996).

Dr. Cheryl (Cook) Johnson (B.S. 1985) sent a picture of her two daughters, Aspen and Autumn, along with a Christmas letter. She and her husband, Randy, live in Alpine, Utah where she practices medicine.

Dr. Carol (Cross) Wise (B.S. 1985) sent a Christmas card to say that she and her orthodontist husband John and two children, Ben and Madeline, are building a new house in Plano. Carol is still an assistant professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Quan Wen (B.A. 1997) received her masters degree in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University in December 1998.

Rene Aguiluz (B.S. 1997) sent a card to say that he has now accepted a position with Andersen Consulting in Houston.

Annie Thai (B.S. 1998) sent a Christmas message and said she is enjoying her work at Baker Petrolite in Sugarland.

Audra Robertson (B.S. 1995) and Gabby Guzzio (B.A. 1997) sent along a joint Christmas card followed by a separate card from Gabby. They are both employed at Nalco-Exxon.

Melissa Wayland (B.S. 1994) is now employed at CombiChem, Inc. in San Diego, CA according to Dr. Bergbreiter.

Marylin (Harmon) Dillon (B.S.1995) is now married and living with her husband Brent in Columbia, South Carolina. They have recently moved into a new home.

Jodi Crutchfield (B.A.1997) sent along a very interesting letter and followed this up with an e-mail. She is still working with the Peace Corps in Nepal. In her letter she stated that she had just helped her host family build a smokeless wood-burning stove out of mud and manure. She will be moving to a town just outside Kathmandu in about 4 months to do some teacher training. She and a physics teacher will be doing a traveling science show in Nepal this summer. She also requested some funds to help purchase supplies for a world map project for her village. Contributors in the Chemistry Department donated $105 for this purpose and the ACS Student Affiliate Chapter sent a check for $50. If you=d like to read Jodi=s letter or correspond with her just stop by Room 104.



Dr. John Schlueter, a chemist with the Chemistry and Materials Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, visited with Drs. Tiner and Hogg on January 15 and encouraged them to have students in their junior year apply for summer positions at Argonne. He said they are positions which are going unfilled due to a lack of applicants. Interested students may contact Dr. Schlueter at 630-252-3588 or by e-mail at: Schlueter@ANCHX4.CHM.ANL.GOV



You may recall the following from the September 1998 issue of Orbitals.

AWe have received 5 copies of the Careers for Chemists: A World Outside the Lab by F. Owens, R. Uhler, and C. Marasco. They may be borrowed for overnight/weekend reading by undergraduate chemistry majors. In order to ensure their return in a timely fashion, Dr. Hogg will place a block on your registration until the book is returned. This means you will not be able to change your class schedule, change your major, or register for or drop courses until the book is returned. In lieu of the block, you may leave a $15 cash deposit to cover the cost of the book@

Well, we didn=t carry out our threat of a block or deposit and, sure enough, all five of the books are now missing and we have no idea where they are. Therefore, if you have borrowed one of these books please return it immediately. We can=t simply shell out $75 to buy more. All the borrowers promised to return them within days so I=m sure you=ve just forgotten.



Summer Research in the Pharmaceutical Industry - We have been invited to nominate two students to participate in the Pfizer Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship Program in Synthetic Organic Chemistry. Pfizer is a major pharmaceutical company in Groton, Connecticut. The fellowships carry a $5000 award and provide the opportunity for students to work on their own campus with a faculty mentor. The mentor receives $1000 of the $5000 award for support of the awardee=s project. The student nominees must be students who will be between their junior and senior years during the summer of 1999. The applications must be postmarked no later than February 27. I will be glad to work with you in getting your nomination submitted. Contact Dr. Hogg as soon as possible.

NSF-REU and Related Programs - We have received many announcements about National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate Programs all over the United States. There are too many to list them here. Stop by Room 104 and check out the folder. Most offer about $3000-4000 summer stipends and most have rapidly approaching deadlines.


Chemistry 462 (Advanced Inorganic Chemistry) will be taught in the fall semester beginning in the fall of 1999 and Chemistry 446 (Advanced Organic Chemistry) will be taught in the spring semester of 2000. In other words, advanced organic will be a Aspring semester course@ and advanced inorganic will be a Afall semester course.@ This change was requested by the inorganic division to ensure than students complete 462 before taking the inorganic chemistry lab (Chemistry 433). Please note this change if you are a chemistry major and plan your schedule accordingly. As always, please check the class schedule books when they become available.


TAMU Student Research Week

The first annual TAMU Student Research Week Conference will be held March 22-27, 1999. The goal of the conference is to enhance awareness of student involvement in research at Texas A&M University. Poster and oral presentations will highlight undergraduate and graduate research activities at TAMU. Watch for additional information about this activity in the near future and plan to participate.


ACS Student Affiliate Research Conference

The Texas A&M Student Affiliate Chapter of the American Chemical Society is planning a one-day undergraduate research conference for Saturday, March 6. Prizes will be awarded for the best poster presentations. All undergraduate chemistry majors are encouraged to participate. Contact Darrell Poppe, President, at dpoppe@tamu.edu for details. You may also pick up information from Dr. Hogg or Ms. Warren in Room 104 Chemistry.



We have received the call for proposals for the Undergraduate Research Fellows Program for the 1999-2000 academic year. This two-semester independent study program is open to juniors who will have completed nine hours of Honors course work and have at least a 3.4 GPR. Participation culminates in a Senior Honors Thesis. The deadline for application is March 25 but you must attend an informational meeting on Thursday, February 18 in 292B MSC at 5:15 p.m. if you are interested. Additional information about the program may be obtained in Room 104 Chemistry or the Honors Program Office in 101 Academic Bldg,



The director of the TAMU Career Center has been contacted by Don Birkelbach, a former student and recruiter for Dow Chemical, asking her to pass along the following information. AChemistry majors at TAMU have a habit of listing course work on their resumes. We already know what they take by looking at their transcript so this information is not necessary.@


Dr. Linda Sellers-Hann called on January 14 to say that she has joined ILEX Oncology in San Antonio and that they are looking for two recent BS/BA chemists with analytical experience. Interested person should contact her at 210-677-8358 or fax her at 210-670-7390.



Degree audits have been received for the students planning to graduate in May 1999. I have attempted to clear these students for graduation by filing appropriate substitution petitions, etc. I discovered that at least three students had never come by to sign their degree plan and take it to the Dean=s office. One student listed below has still failed to do this. In one instance I discovered a B.S. chemistry major who was registered for the wrong physical chemistry lab. Had I not caught this the student would not have graduated in May. Please make sure you check your degree plans to guarantee that you are taking the correct courses. When asked why he had registered for the wrong course, the student responded that he hadn=t bothered to check because he Aknew what course he was supposed to take.@ Unfortunately for him, he was wrong!

Your name should be on the list below if you plan to graduate in May. If it is not, please contact me immediately. J. Breeding, G. Brown, J. Carpenter, A. Clinkenbeard, C. Cropper, J. Drost, S. Hanna, D. Kent IV, D. Kolar, L. Kriewald, J. Link, J. Maschek, J. Ott, Z. Romain, J. Solis, A. Wacker and S. Wimberly.



I have just purchased three copies of AChemical Careers in Brief@ and three copies of the videotape ACareers for Chemists@. The book has chapter on agricultural chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, catalysis, chemical education, chemical engineering, chemical information, chemical sales and marketing, chemical technology, colloid and surface science, consumer product and development chemistry, consulting, environmental chemistry, food and flavor chemistry, forensic chemistry, geochemistry, hazardous waste management, inorganic chemistry, materials science, medicinal chemistry, oil and petroleum chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, polymer chemistry, pulp and paper chemistry, R&D management, science writing, textile chemistry, and water chemistry. The video has features on many of the same areas. Many biographical sketches of real scientists are included.

You may check these out for 2-day use by leaving a $15 deposit which will be refunded upon return. I=m sorry to have to do this but nothing else seems to work. You may leave your student ID or driver=s license or something else valued at $15 in lieu of the deposit. Ms. Warren will act as the official appraisal officer in these cases. Please, no live animals (or dead ones either).


Representatives from health professions schools around the country will be available in the MSC Flagroom from 10:30-2:30 on February 23 to answer questions you may have about their programs.



Check out the following web site, especially the guide notes at the end, if you=d like some factual information about the current Internet story which claims that aspartame (NutraSweet) causes brain cancer, multiple sclerosis, lupus, etc. [web site = http://urbanlegends.tqn.com/library/blasp.htm] There is nothing to this but the story has been picked up nationwide and was on the front page of The Battalion on February 2. The stories abound with scientific misinformation which seems to be readily accepted by the public. There is also a rebuttal story in the February 8 issue of Time magazine. There is a very real lesson in how little science the average person understands if they are willing to believe such unsubstantiated stories floating around on the Internet. Apparently other recent Internet rumors were that a common ingredient in most shampoos causes cancer and that babies and toddlers who accidentally get waterproof sunscreen in their eyes will go blind.