What=s Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #73

March 2, 1999

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

written by Dr. John L. Hogg


The College of Engineering invited the Chemistry Road Show to participate in their Engineering Day at the Mall on Saturday, February 27. Demonstrations which focused on the properties of liquid nitrogen, dry ice, non-Newtonian fluids and ultraviolet light were done by ACS student affiliate members Michael Irwin, Rachel McConnell, Julie Orf, Melissa Supak, Lisa Torres, and Darrell Poppe. Jeremy Collette, a chemistry graduate student and B.A. chemistry degree recipient from 1995, and Dr. Aaron Harper also spent most of the day working with the undergraduates. Darrell Poppe, ACS student affiliate president, organized the event in Dr. Hogg=s absence. As there were fewer volunteers to help out this year, those who did volunteer to carry on this tradition deserve a special thank you.



The lounge (Room 2106) for undergraduate chemistry majors was recently equipped with a TV and VCR to use in viewing the career videos and other educational chemistry videos placed there by Dr. Hogg. Please take advantage of these videos when you have some spare time. The new career video, Careers for Chemists, is quite good. There are also videos dealing with other aspects of chemistry as well. Additional copies of the two ACS career books, Chemical Careers in Brief and Careers for Chemists: A World Outside the Lab, were recently purchased and have been placed in the lounge for student use. Please do not remove these books or videos from the lounge.



Students in the College of Science will go through commencement ceremonies for the spring term on Saturday morning May 15 at 9 a.m.



Larry Medina (B.S. 1998) dropped by for a visit on February 5. Larry is now working at Eisai, Inc., a Japanese pharmaceutical company, in Pasadena, TX. The plant where Larry works makes Vitamin E. Larry said he does a lot of analytical chemistry and utilizes HPLC, GC, and UV-Visible spectroscopy. He commented that his interview was quite detailed and focused quite a bit on technical questions about laboratory techniques. He commented that the skills he gained in Chemistry 234, 433, and 434 were very useful. Larry=s e-mail address is larry_medina@rocky.eisai.com .

Thomas (Rusty) White (B.S. 1995) is employed at the Texas Department of Public Safety Headquarters Crime Laboratory in Austin. Dr. Hogg was able to visit briefly with Rusty when the ACS student affiliates toured this lab on February 9. He said he found the work quite fascinating and noted that no two cases were ever exactly the same.

Summer Alexander (B.S 1997) and Ryan Nichter (B.A. 1996) stopped by for a visit on February 12. Summer and Ryan both work at Chevron in Kingwood and plan to be married at the Messina Hof Winery in Bryan on April 10. If you wish to send congratulations their e-mail addresses are slxn@chevron.com and knic@chevron.com.

Dr. Barbara (Potts) Wolf (B.S. 1984 and Ph.D. 1991) has accepted a new job with PerSeptive Biosystems, an affiliate of Perkin Elmer that makes mass spectrometers like the MALDI/TOF instruments in Dr. Russell's lab. She has moved, with her daughter Jennifer, to Framingham, about 20 miles west of Boston. Dr. Wolf worked in the Chem. Dept mass spectrometry lab for 4 years (since Jan 1995) after lecturing in the freshman chemistry program here and also at Blinn for 2 years after graduating.



If everyone can roll out of bed early enough on the morning of March 21, several ACS student affiliates and Dr. Hogg will drive to Dallas to fly to California for the 217th National ACS Meeting. The meeting, to be held in Anaheim, is a major event for student affiliates. Financial assistance has been received from the Texas A&M Section of the ACS as well as from the Department of Chemistry. Student affiliates have worked to raise money for the trip and have also participated in a variety of community service activities in order to earn points to entitle them to a subsidy for the trip.

The local student affiliate chapter will be recognized as one of the outstanding chapters in the nation for their 1997-98 activities at the Sixth Annual Student Affiliates Awards Ceremony to be held at the West Coast Hotel in Anaheim. Omar Torres, president of the student chapter during the 1997-98 academic year and currently a graduate chemistry student at UCLA, will join the group for this event.


Thomas F. Miller III has been selected as the Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Junior in the College of Science. Phi Kappa Phi is a national interdisciplinary honor society made up of faculty, staff and students. For this honor, Tommy will receive $250 and a plaque and enter into the competition for the outstanding junior in the University. That honor, to be announced April 16, will carry with an award consisting of a plaque and a check for $1000. Good luck, Tommy!

Zaneta Romain (senior B.A. chemistry major) has been accepted into medical school at Baylor College of Medicine for the fall 1999 term. Zaneta has received an Air Force Health Professions Scholarship to attend medical school. This scholarship provides for all tuition and related expenses plus a monthly stipend.

David Randall (Chip) Kent IV (senior B.S. chemistry and math major) has announced his engagement to Ms. Brooke Robertson. Brooke is a student a Rice. They plan a wedding during the summer of 2000 (barring any unforeseen Y2K problems).



A position will be available for an eager undergraduate who is interested in expanding their expertise in organic synthesis. Specifically, the student will be involved in the development of new transformations of 2-oxetanones (beta-lactones) and/or the application of these transformations to bioactive natural product total synthesis. The student will be exposed to modern synthetic organic techniques and instrumentation. The stipend will be ~$1000-1200/month. For further information, please e-mail Daniel Romo, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Texas A&M University, at romo@mail.chem.tamu.edu  or phone (409)845-9571.



Spring break is just around the corner. There will be no classes March 15-20 although I have no doubt that some of you will begin your spring break earlier and end it later than these official dates. Be safe!





We have now begun sending Orbitals: What=s Happening in Chemistry Circles as an e-mail attachment to former students who have provided us with their e-mail addresses. The previous issue resulted in the collection of several additional e-mail addresses along with some interesting information about some of our former students with whom we had lost track.

Melissa Wayland (B.S. 1994) touched base with us after this initial attempt at communication. She is at CombiChem in San Diego and her e-mail address is: mwayland@combichem.com

Michael Lacey (B.S. 1996) wrote to say he is still grinding it out in graduate school at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. His e-mail address is: lacey@students.uiuc.edu  He reports that Chad Shear (B.S. 1996), his roommate, is completing his final year in law school at Illinois. He has accepted a job with a firm in Dallas.

Niki Zacharias (B.S. 1997) is getting ready to take her examinations to advance to candidacy in chemistry at Cal Tech on March 3. Her e-mail address is:niki@cco.caltech.edu

Dr. Phil Huskey (B.S. 1980) is an associate professor of chemistry at Rutgers University and sent the following details about his life and family. He is now the coordinator of undergraduate programs/undergraduate chemistry advisor. AI'm in my fifth year in this regard as a quasi-administrator. I=m happy to report that we've gone from graduating four majors per year to 27 last year (our undergraduate population is about 4500). The key from what I can tell is having a straightforward curriculum designed to allow for transfer students, and a single undergraduate advisor (something I know you have advocated).

Su is still at Merck working on some top secret stuff that I'm not supposed to know about. Karen is a freshman in high school where she seems to be doing particularly well in her language courses -- Spanish and Latin, and Neil is a third grader. Neil, it seems, has a talent for martial arts -- he has lessons twice a week and is an orange belt in karate.@

Phil=s e-mail address is: huskey@newark.rutgers.edu. I hope he doesn=t mind me sharing the above information with you.

Stephen Willis (B.S. 1997) and Carrie LaRue (B.S. 1997) are both in graduate school in chemistry at Duke University. Stephen=s e-mail address is: sww3@duke.edu and Carrie=s is: cll@duke.edu

I=ll try to include as many of these addresses as I can keep track of in coming issues.