What's Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #84

October 9, 2000

web address: http://www.chem.tamu.edu/ugrad/ugradinf.html

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

written by Dr. John L. Hogg


Rachel McConnell, senior chemistry major, was honored with the John B. Beckham Award in Science at the College of Science Faculty and Staff Awards Meeting on Wednesday, September 27. The award consisted of a medallion and a check for $1250. The award is presented to the outstanding senior in the College of Science based on leadership and academic achievement. Rachel is completing a second degree in biochemistry and plans to enter an MD/Ph.D. program upon graduation in May. She has served in many leadership capacities and is currently the president of the student affiliate chapter of the American Chemical Society. Alfred A. Mansour, III, senior biology major, was also honored with a Beckham Award. The awards were presented by Dr. Ken Poenisch, Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Science.


Jared Hudson, Aaron Justice, Jason Stephenson and Marc Wilson have each been awarded $1500 Dow Aggies Scholarships for the 2000-2001 academic year. All are U3 chemistry majors. 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. These scholarships were announced by Dr. Kenneth Poenisch, Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Science.


Rachel McConnell and Leah Whiteker, senior chemistry majors, were each awarded $600 George C. Bauer Scholarship for the 2000-2001 academic year. This scholarship honors Professor Bauer, a former chemistry faculty member and outstanding teacher and recognizes both students' outstanding academic records and perseverance and hard work in pursuit of their degrees. Rachel is president of the ACS student affiliate and a teaching assistant this year and Leah is the treasurer of the ACS student affiliate and an SI leader so they are both very busy.


Hiral Shah, junior chemistry major, was selected to receive the Sharon Merritt Birtcher Endowed Scholarship for the 2000-2001 year. This $1500 honors former student, Sharon Merritt (B.A. 1989), and is presented to a chemistry major planning to pursue a teaching career. Hiral is currently serving as the SI leader in the sophomore organic class for chemistry majors this year and is reported to be doing an outstanding job.


The Monsanto Company continued its outstanding support of undergraduate chemistry majors by honoring twenty-one students at A&M with $1000 scholarships for the 2000-2001 academic year. The students receiving the Monsanto Scholarships this year are listed below:


Leah Arrigo - U4                                                    Aurelie Buckelew - U4

Trevor Clayton - U3                                               Shalindra Das - U4

Erin Docking - U3                                                  Joseph Doskocil - U1

Esther Garner - U3                                                Gera Geeslin - U3

Erin Guidry - U3                                                     Charles Hamilton - U4

Stephen Hansen - U3                                             Reagan Hughes - U4

Joseph Jessup - U3                                                Beverly Johnson - U4

Timothy Kovoor - U4                                             Sean Liddick - U4

Ellaine Lloren - U3                                                 Rachel McConnell - U4

Bradley Rowland - U3                                            Gottfried Schroeder - U3

Thomas Smith - U3


Twenty-two freshman and sophomore chemistry majors have been honored with IUCCP-A.E. Martell Undergraduate Chemistry Scholarships for the 2000-01 academic year. The funds for these $500 scholarships are provided by contributions from the members and associate members of the Industry University Cooperative Chemistry Program. Several new members Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Glaxo Wellcome, Inc., Rohm and Haas, and 3M) and associate members (Shell Chemical and Procter and Gamble) have joined this organization during the past year and their support of this program is appreciated. They join the four long-standing supporters (BASF, Celanese, Dow and Monsanto) of this program. The scholarship recipients are listed below:

Sponsor Company/Recipients

BASF Corporation: Michael Gustavson*,Marti Sebesta*, and Scott Bassett

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals., Inc.:Walt Dannenberg*, Marah Short

Celanese, Ltd.: Anna Allred*, Travis Gilbreath*, and Sarah Holt*

Dow Chemical U.S.A.: Laurel Hansen*, David Huddleston*, and Caraleigh Buxie

Glaxo Wellcome, Inc.: Houston Perry andWilliam Kothmann*

Monsanto Company: Amelia Hessheimer*,Amy McMahon*, and Brian Day

Rohm and Haas Company: Byron Collins* andMinhha Nguyen

3M Center: Nolan Griggs* and Brooke Harstad*

Shell Chemical Company: Kasey Johnston*

The Proctor and Gamble Company: Anton Truong


Dr. Christine (Mullen) Barondeau (B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry, 1994) sent the following e-mail recently. "I've been meaning to write and let you know that I defended my thesis "Conformational Dynamics of Glycinamide Ribonucleotide Transformylase" on August 11 (Whoop!). I am now starting a two year position as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of San Diego. I teach three classes each semester and have the summers and breaks to write grants and do research. I'll be teaching General Chemistry Lab and Lecture, and a class called "DNA: Science and Technology". The last one is an introduction to biotechnology for non-science majors. I am probably the most excited about it since I got to pick the text book and decide on all the lecture material. I'll e-mail you in a few weeks and let you know how it's going. I already have a new found respect for all my former teachers. Putting together a coherent 50 minute lecture is not easy! By the way, my new e-mail address is:


Stay cool. I heard on the news today that College Station hit 112!"


Dr. Theresa Harper (B.S. 1993) has provided the following update on her life (and several other Ags) since leaving A&M. "After graduating from A&M in 1993, I went to graduate school at the University of California, San Diego. I joined the inorganic division and did research on nanocrystalline silicon under the direction of Prof. Michael J. Sailor. During this time I married Allan Farrow (B.S. 1989; M.S. 1993 aerospace) who went out to California with me to do his Ph.D. in bioengineering. I was happy to have both Krista Witte (B.S. 1992) and Christine Mullen Barondeau (B.S. 1994) at my wedding which was in February of 1997. After finishing up the Ph.D. in the Spring of 1998, I spent a semester teaching at the University of San Diego and then starting in January of 1999, I did a postdoctoral position in the Center for the Study of Early Events in Photosynthesis at Arizona State University. My advisors there were Profs Ana L. Moore, Thomas Moore and Devens Gust. I was studying artificial photo synthetic systems and was able to obtain quite a bit of biochemistry experience. That is also where I met Jeff Bahr (B.S. 1995) who was doing his graduate work under Prof. Devens Gust. One month ago I began working at Protogene Laboratories ( www.protogene.com ) in Menlo Park, California as a surface chemist in R&D. I'm having a great time at my job - there are lots of wonderful people here (but no other Aggies). I'm now hoping that Allan is able to move up to the bay area SOON as we are sick of living in different cities (During the year and a half that I was in Arizona he was finishing up his degree in San Diego and beginning a postdoc)! My email address is tharper@protogene.com and I would love to hear from former classmates!

Theresa Harper

P.S. Krista Witte finished up her postdoc under Prof. Peter Schultz and has been working at Zyomyx in the bay area ( www.zyomyx.com )."

John Steinbach (B.S. 1989) continues to work at Celanese in Bay City and reports that he is will be on campus sometime in October recruiting for Celanese. He is now a Production Engineer in the Alcohols and Acetate Esters Units at Celanese, Bay City. He wants to know if anyone has either an E-mail or postal address forLyndon Xavier (B.S. 1988). If you do, please send it to John at:


Paul Thompson (B.S. 1990) sent the following e-mail after the September issue of Orbitals appeared. "You probably remember me as Paul Thompson, Class of '90. Thank you for reminding me to check on Orbitals. I am writing to ask that you change my address on your list to the one I am sending from (mthompson@chem.swri.edu). Work continues apace at SWRI. I responsible for creating my own career here. I would be interested in getting some more Aggies in. I have come to learn at the Institute and in graduate school that I have a significantly better technical undergrad education than most of the people I work with. It ain't bragging if it is true. Hope all is still going well."


P. Marty Thompson

Scientist Southwest Research Institute

(210) 522-3171

Valerie Meyers (B.A. 2000) has now begun graduate school and provided the following update on her new life. "Thanks for sending that out to us old folks. It's nice to be able to keep up with what's going on at home. I miss it. I have started my Ph.D. program in pathology at UAB. Classes are certainly challenging,but I am enjoying it. The lab I am involved with for my first lab rotation is doing bone density research and has several ties and grants with NASA. I'm looking forward to meeting one of the professors in the crystallography department who is a former astronaut. I certainly hope connections made here will help in the future. I have also gained permission from the pathology department and the ROTC program at Samford to complete my ROTC training after I have finished my first year here. I will be commissioned at approximately the same time I am finishing my graduate program. I hope to fly for the Air Force, but I would be happy to do research for them as well. I hope things are going well for you in Aggieland. I'll keep ya posted on my progress." Valerie's e-mail address is: agbonfire00@yahoo.com

Trieu Nguyen (B.S. 2000) is currently working at the Institute for Research in Houston, TX. You may contact him at the following address: revol2001@hotmail.com

Traci Clark (B.A. 2000) sent a letter with some information about the graduate program in Forensic Chemistry at The University of New Haven where she is currently enrolled. If you are interested in this program, please stop by Room 104 and inspect the brochures. Traci's e-mail address is: tulsau-2000@yahoo.com.

Kim (DeFriend) Varela came up for a visit on October 5. She is in her third year of the Ph.D. program in chemistry at Rice University.

Susan (Palmer) Altom (B.A. 1996) stopped by on October 2 for a visit but, unfortunately I was sick and did not get to see her. Friends of Susan may contact her at: spaltom@hewitt.com

A visit with a prospective student on Friday, October 6 revealed that her high school chemistry course in Norway(!) was taught by a former student, Tommie Hennard (B.A. 1991). Apparently Tommie has left the states and has been teaching at The International School of Stavanger. I will see if I can establish contact with Tommie and post more details of his adventures here.

Jerry Smith (B.A. 1999) stopped by for a short visit recently. He was in town to attend the Texas Tech -A&M football game and, I think, to see some woman he is fond of. Jerry is working at Air Liquide in Dallas and reports he really enjoys the work. In fact, he said he would work there for free but I advised him to keep that idea to himself. Friends may contact Jerry at: jerryw.smith@airliquide.com


Although we don't have current plans for campus recruiting this fall at TAMU, I wanted to pass along information about some immediate openings that we have here at STL Austin, just in case you have former students who are looking for employment. We are looking for at least 3 chemists to work in various areas of our environmental testing laboratory. Two of these openings are entry level - we are looking for good BS/BA chemists although we may be able to provide an opportunity for someone with a master's degree as well. I am very interested in finding a chemist with a few year's experience in chromatography and/or GCMS for the third position - especially if their experience also includes environmental analysis.

Like Radian, our former owners, Severn Trent Laboratories (STL) is a good employer offering competitive wages and benefits. Our mission hasn't changed - if anything, there is more opportunity for chemists as we try to grow our business.

Even if we fill these openings now, I would also anticipate that we'll have openings for December and spring graduates. If you have students interested in these, they can fax their resume to me at 512-244-0160 or e-mail me to the address below. I hope to be able to visit TAMU next semester as we identify our needs for spring graduates.

I look forward to getting more good Aggie chemists on our staff. I hope that the semester is going well for you as well.

Take care and thanks for any help you can provide. Sharon K. Mertens
Laboratory Director
STL Austin
(512) 310-5236 (direct line)


Dr. Tim Hughbanks (Room 330 Chemistry) is interested in working with a highly motivated undergraduate student who wants to apply for this program. There may be other faculty in our department who would also be interested if you would like to discuss this program with them.

The Undergraduate Materials Research Initiative of the Materials Research Society is pleased to announce the third annual Undergraduate Research Initiative (UMRI), a continuing MRS program to involve undergraduate students in limited projects in any area of materials research. The program is designed to introduce students to the excitement of discovery through research. Sponsored by the MRS Academic Affairs Committee, the Undergraduate Materials Research Initiative (UMRI) Program will make about 40 awards of $1,000 each for research projects over the 2000-2001 school year. The MRS Web site will help guide students in proposing their research projects. A selection committee will review proposed research projects. The program is open to undergraduates enrolled in a degree program leading to a bachelor's degree or international equivalent. The deadline for proposals is October 16, 2000. The full details on the proposal submission process and program administration can be found on the MRS Web site at http://www.mrs.org/umri or by contacting MRS Member Services at phone (724) 779-3003.


The following announcement has been provided by the TAMU ACS section executive committee.

The Executive Committee of the Texas A&M American Chemical Society Local Section in the past has provided student affiliates with some support for travel to National meetings. While we will be happy to consider a group request again this year for a contribution to support travel to the spring national ACS meeting in San Diego, we wanted to remind you of our decision last year that we intend to differentiate between students who are attending the national meeting and students whose research will be included in poster presentations or as a contribution to a talk by group members at the national meeting. It is the decision of the local section's executive committee that in order to encourage undergraduate research, students presenting posters or contributing authors will receive more support. Students planning on presenting their research at a poster session or in some other venue at the national meeting may wish to acquaint themselves with the relevant dates for the abstract submission. Most are in November for the April 2001 meeting.

Undergraduates who are contributing authors of research results presented at the 2001 spring national meeting in San Diego who are not members of the SAC-ACS can also receive limited travel support from the local section. Such students should directly apply to the local section executive committee through the local section chair, who by spring will be Dr. M. Rosynek.


Word has just been received that the Texas A&M Student Affiliate Chapter of the American Chemical Society has been recognized as a Commendable chapter for its activities conducted during the 1999-2000 academic year. Based on the review of the annual reports submitted by the chapters, the Society Committee on Education selected 31 outstanding, 60 commendable and 69 honorable mention chapters from over 900 national chapters in the U.S and Puerto Rico.

Last year's chapter leadership was supplied by the following officers:

President - Melissa Supak

Vice-President - Julie Orf

Secretary - Rachel McConnell

Treasurer - Erin Witt

Historian - Celeste Davis


Rice University has announced the first regional undergraduate research colloquium to be held on Saturday, November 11 at the Rice campus. Cash prizes of $400, $300, and $200 will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners in the research presentation competition. Lunch and dinner will be provided for all as will lodging for out-of-town participants and their faculty advisors. To apply, send your name, e-mail and postal addresses, abstract and advisor's name by snail-mail or e-mail to:


Department of Chemistry, MS 60

Rice University

P.O. Box 1892

Houston, TX 77005

e-mail: gradchem@rice.edu

All A&M undergraduates involved in chemical or biochemical research are strongly encouraged to participate in this event.


Please check out the posters and information about the following programs in our office or visit their web sites to find out if you should apply for one of these programs.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund ( www.hsf.net )

Ford Foundation Fellowships for Minorities (pre-doctoral, dissertation and postdoctoral) ( http://national-academies.org/osep/fo)


Check out the following information if you are looking for a cooperative education or permanent position.

Dr. Hogg: I will be recruiting for URS Corporation this year at the chemistry department on October 17th. Who is URS? URS Corporation was recently ranked by Forbes as one of the 100 fastest growing US companies. URS is among the Top Ten Design Firms in the areas of hazardous waste, transportation, general building, solid waste, water supply and general environmental engineering and technical support. Over the past few years URS has brought together, among others, Radian International, Dames and Moore, and Woodward Clyde to provide solutions to our clients environmental and engineering problems. http: www.urscorp.com We are continuously looking for engineers and scientists to join our team. A short job description is given below for entry level chemists interested in working in the environmental field. If you know of any students who may be interested please ask them to contact Joy Monroe at the Chemistry Placement Office.

BS Chemist: Entry level positions available applying chemical principles to solving environmental problems. Work areas include ambient air monitoring, source emissions testing, site investigation, environmental analysis, solid and hazardous waste treatment and quality assurance and quality control. Positions involve laboratory work, field sampling, computer assisted data reduction, and technical report writing.

Timothy Trofe

Measurements Group Leader

URS Corporation

512 419-5421

Dr. Hogg: My name is Andrea Baggerman (CHEN '95), and I am the lead recruiter for Texas A&M for Lyondell Chemical Company & Equistar Chemicals. Lyondell/Equistar will be on campus for the co-op career fair Oct 10th, and will be conducting interviews on Oct 25th. We have a position open for a sophomore/junior student seeking a B.S. in chemistry. Typically we check the on-line resumes on the co-op web site, contact students we'd especially like to meet at the career fair, and set up the interview schedule from there. However, I've found no chemistry students registered with the co-op office on the web site. I am hoping one of you can direct me in the best way to identify students to interview for this position. Below is some basic information on the position provided by the lab supervisor.

[Spring through summer 2001] or [Summer through Fall 2001] (6 months)

Junior level (outstanding Sophomore considered) with > 3.0 GPA

Outside / club / volunteer / related or unrelated work experience is a plus

Min 8 week assignment

Max 6 month assignment

Focus and interest in organic and analytical chemistry

Knowledge of separation theory

Knowledge of basic analytical applications of chromatography, spectroscopy, etc.

Basic lab skills.

Ability to travel between the 2 Channel view plant sites if necessary ( within 2 miles of each other).

Possible project topics:

* Characterization of impurities and fouling agents in olefins & other processes.

* Assist in analytical support of troubleshooting all LYO/EQ processes - commodity, intermediate and performance chemicals

* Assist in analytical support of plant trials, including data compiling.

* Assist in analytical support for development of new markets for existing

products, including data compiling.

* All projects include organic and analytical applications. Instrumentation and techniques used for individual projects may include Mass Spectroscopy, Gas Chromatography, Inductively Coupled Plasma, Spectrophotometry, "wet" techniques and Statistical Data Review.

Thank you for your assistance.

Andrea Baggerman

Phone: 281-452-8192

Fax: 281-452-8744 Pgr: 713-891-2412

NOTE: Dow Chemical is also looking for a chemistry major who is interested in a cooperative education position but have been unable to identify anyone. These positions dramatically increase your marketability when you graduate so please consider them.

Contact Dan Mills at dmills@chemtrend.com if you are interested in the following position: I am in the middle of a search for a lab technician for one of my groups. This would be a good entry level job for someone with a BS (or possibly BA) as a career track into a chemist position. Do you know of any students recently graduated or soon to finish that would consider an industrial position in the specialty coatings business here in Michigan? This position reports to the senior member of my group and involves development of release coatings for rubber, plastics, and composites. Typically we utilize silicone and fluoro chemistries. We do formulation of purchased materials as well as synthesis from base materials to make unique active ingredients. We expect to do more reaction chemistries as these have tended to provide considerable performance advantage.