What's Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #86 January 22, 2001

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


Thirteen undergraduate chemistry majors received their degrees at the December 15, 2000 commencement ceremonies. Zsila Sadighi graduated summa cum laude and Celeste Davis received two degrees (a B.A. in chemistry and a B.A. in English). Congratulations go out to all of the graduates.

Bachelor of Arts Graduate (minor in parentheses) were: W. Celeste Davis (Spanish), Jacob L. Higgins (business administration), Shawn A. Kucera (psychology), Michelle A. Odajima (biology), Charles A. Penaloza (psychology), and Zsila S. Sadighi (biology).

Bachelor of Science Graduates were: Jacqueline L. Fuller, Stephen P. Jeffery, Nathan L. Lett, Denise L. Muehlbrad, Marisol E. Rocha and Tammie C. (Tuggle)Warren.



Brian Munson (B.S. 1997) sent an e-mail in December to report that he is now working at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio as a laboratory coordinator. He is in charge of the chemistry stockroom and the instrumentation lab. He and his wife, Christie, had their first child, Stephanie Erin, on August 18, 2000. She weighed 8 lbs. even and was 20.5 inches long.

Bobby Delafield (B.S. 1998) is now in his second year of graduate school at UT-Arlington where he is working with Dr. Elsenbaumer in the area of polymer chemistry. Friends may contact Bobby at: bobby_delafield@yahoo.com.

Christopher Loo (B.S. 2000) sent a short e-mail before Christmas to say that he is really enjoying medical school at Baylor. He had just finished his first block of courses and reported that he was really well prepared for the work there although the pace was quite incredible. Friends may e-mail Chris at: cl131067@bcm.tmc.edu

Brandi Nunez (B.S. 2000) and Patrick Gomez (B.S. in computer science, 2000) became engaged to be married in September. I don't know the wedding date yet. They have established the following web site http://web.wt.net/~patgomez/ where you may check up on the progress of the wedding. At the present time, the most interesting thing posted there are some photographs of Brandi and Patrick skydiving. These include the proposal banner that greeted Brandi when she jumped from the plane. I guess after surviving skydiving they thought they'd try something even more dangerous, like getting married. Best wishes, Brandi and Patrick. Brandi is now employed at Atofina in LaPorte, Texas.

Shawn Kucera (B.A. 2000) has accepted a position with Lynntech, Inc. in College Station. He is working on UV-activated photocatalysts for destroying halogenated hydrocarbons and for killing bacteria.

Angie Clinkenbeard (B.S. 1999) wrote to report that she has relocated to Kansas City, Missouri and accepted a chemist position with Quintiles, which was formerly known as Hoescht Marion Roussel. She'll be working mainly with HPLC, doing QA/QC work. She plans to continue working toward a Master's degree there, probably at UMKC.

Andrew Bolin (B.A. 2000) sent along a very nice postcard of the scenery at South Padre Island recently. He is just beginning his second semester in medical school. Thanks, Andrew.

Dr. Frank McDonald (B.S. 1984) is an associate professor of chemistry and director of graduate studies at Emory University in Atlanta. His e-mail address is: fmcdon@emory.edu

Tommie Hennard (B.A. 1991) is reported to be teaching chemistry at The International School of Stavanger in Stavanger, Norway. At least this is information I gleaned from a letter of recommendation he wrote for a young lady applying to our chemistry program. I'm trying to get in touch with him. If anyone knows his current address or e-mail, please let me know.

Shelley Lenamond (B.A. 1998) only has one more semester of school before she begins her rotations at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. slenamon@hsc.unt.edu

David "Chip" Kent (B.A. 1999) wrote to say that things are going ok at Caltech. He has Drs. Harry Gray and Bill Goddard as joint advisors. He said that married life is great! He said his wife (Brooke) likes working for a headhunting company that specializes in the produce industry (www.mixtec.com). He said that he quit weight lifting for his first year at Cal Tech because of problems finding equipment that he needed. He has started back now and ended up placing 10th in the US at the American Open. Right now, he is training for Collegiate Nationals (Feb 18-19) in Shreveport and senior nationals in April.

      Omar Torres (B.S. 1998) visited Texas over the holidays and he and longtime friend Kim (DeFriend) Varela (B.S. 1998) came up for a visit on January 2. Omar has just received his second (!) award as the outstanding teaching assistant in the graduate chemistry program at UCLA. He received a cash award and a certificate of recognition. This is quite an accomplishment and Omar is to be commended for this honor.

      Kim is in her third year of the Ph.D. program in chemistry at Rice University and has just passed her preliminary orals. Congratulations Kim. It was great to visit with Omar and Kim.

I received "Christmas e-mails" from several former students. Dr. Lloyd Colegrove (B.S. 1983 and Ph.D. 1989) and his wife Brenda (B.S.1986) are still at Dow in Freeport and have two children. (e-mail at colegrovelf@dow.com) He reported that Rick Tabor (B.S. 1980) has left Dow to work with Steppan in the Chicago area (RLTabor@hotmail.com).

Deron Wood (B.S.1991) invites old friends to visit him in Frisco where he is working with Frito Lay. He may be contacted at. Deron.Wood@fritolay.com

Traci Clark (B.A. 2000) sent along her new e-mail address and nothing else. (Traci@popmail.com)

Valerie Meyers (B.A. 2000) reported that she was doing quite well in her graduate integrated biomedical science class at the University of Alabama. Way to go Valerie. (agbonfire00@yahoo.com)

Stephen Willis (B.S. 1997) has completed an M.A. degree in biochemistry at Duke University and has decided to seek a position in the Houston area. His wife, Carrie (LaRue) Willis (B.S. 1997) is teaching high school science at Eastern High School in Mebane, North Carolina and looking for a position in the Houston area. Stephen may be contacted at: sww97@hotmail.com

Michael Lacey (B.S. 1996) is planning to finish his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Illinois in just a few months. He has been working with Dr. Jonathan Sweedler. He may be contacted at: mlacey@bozo.scs.uiuc.edu Michael sent his thanks for sending another Aggie (Kyle Plunkett) to Illinois.

Kyle Plunkett (B.S. 2000) spent the summer working with Dr. Jefferey Moore at the University of Illinois. He reported in November that he was enjoying everything up north except the cold weather and the fact that it was getting dark at 4:45 p.m. Kyle may be reached at: kplunkett@sulfur.scs.uiuc.edu

Roxanne Clardy (B.S. 1997) reported that she has accepted a position with Kraft as an Operations Quality Supervisor so she and Scott have moved to Illinois. Her new e-mail address is: scottandroxanne@excite.com



Rachel McConnell (senior chemistry and biochemistry major) has been accepted into the MD/PhD program at UTMB and will join the program in June 2001. The MD/PhD program will take about 7-8 years. She'll start doing a research rotation this June, then medical school for a year, another summer of research rotations, second year of med school and that third summer she will choose a lab and start her PhD research and classes. After a few years of that, once she has completed her dissertation and defense, she'll finish the last two years of medical school. Good luck in this challenge Rachel.

Ellaine Lloren (senior chemistry major) has been accepted into the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth where she will begin study this summer. Congratulations, Ellaine.


Michael Irwin (junior chemistry major) was awarded second place for his research at the Baylor Undergraduate Research Conference on October 13 and received first prize for his presentation at the Rice University Undergraduate Research Conference. Michael has been conducting his research under the direction of Dr. John Fackler.


The following upper-level undergraduate chemistry majors have been selected to serve as teaching assistants in the first year and sophomore organic chemistry lab programs. We are increasingly relying more and more on qualified undergraduates to staff our teaching laboratories. Those serving in this capacity in the spring term are: Allen Bates, Aurelie Buckelew, Shailendra Das, Amy Fowler, Charles Hamilton, Stephen Hansen, Jared Hudson, Reagan Hughes, Timmy Kovoor, Rachel McConnell, Ryan Murphy, Josh Osbun, Brad Rowland, Danny Salinas, Jason Stephenson, and David Trueba.


Tommy Miller (B.S. 2000) has not been spending all of his time in England doing chemistry if we are to believe a recent e-mail he sent. As you recall, Tommy is spending some time at University College in London under the auspices of his British Marshall Scholarship. Well, in December Tommy wrote (presented here in slightly edited form) to say that "London is fantastic. I think one of the greatest things is how accessible it makes the rest of Europe. So far, I've only made it over to Belgium but I'm going to the Canary Islands on Friday. Also, I have tickets for trips to Paris, Prague, and Stockholm for the spring." He goes on to say, "I've taken up a number of new hobbies since moving to London. Among them is running (I'm going to Prague for a marathon) and rugby. However, my favorite new pastime is competitive ballroom and Latin dance! Stop laughing! Despite never having danced before, I've made it onto the University of London Dancesport Team, and I won sixth place in the cha-cha at a competition in Nottingham last Saturday." He went on to describe the "hilarious flamboyancy of the people and the costumes." At first I thought this was all a practical joke but I have now seen photographic documentation so it appears to be true. Who knew Tommy was such a wild man? At least he appears to be enjoying himself and, I'm sure, doing wonderful science. Friends may e-mail Tommy at: thomas_f_miller-iii@yahoo.com.


We have been invited by Pfizer to nominate undergraduate students for participation in their Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship Programs in Computational Chemistry and in Synthetic Organic Chemistry. These are two separate programs and we've been invited to nominate two students in each program.

Selected students will participate in full-time research under the supervision of an A&M faculty member for a minimum of eight weeks during the summer. This will be followed by a visit to Pfizer Global Research and Development in Groton, Connecticut by the recipients and mentors during the fall. Students will receive $4000 ($3500 in the computational program) as a direct stipend and the mentor/department will receive $1000 ($1500 in the computational program) for research expenses.

Student nominees should be between the junior and senior years this summer. The application requires a "student-written" proposal (obviously the mentor will help), a transcript, a faculty mentor statement, and a letter from the department chair.

The deadline for receipt of applications in Groton is February 23, 2001 for the synthetic program and March 2, 2001 for the program in computational chemistry.

Please see Dr. Hogg in Room 104 Chemistry or your research advisor (or prospective advisor) if you meet the qualifications and are interested in this program.

The MINORITY UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP program at Caltech provides support for talented undergraduates to spend a summer doing undergraduate research with faculty members on the campus or technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The MURF program aims to improve the representation of African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Pacific Islanders in science and engineering. Applications are encouraged from students who wish to work in a modern academic research laboratory under the guidance of experienced scientists and engineers. The program will expose students to the excitement and opportunities of a research career. This experience will provide excellent preparation for students interested in subsequently pursuing a Ph.D. degree.

Students will receive a stipend of $5,000 for the ten-week summer period, they will be reimbursed for round trip travel expenses to Pasadena, and they will receive free housing on the Caltech campus. Information and applications may be found on the MURF web site at http://www.its.caltech.edu/~murf/.

Organic Chemist Positions Available

Kelly Scientific Resources, the scientific division of Kelly Services, is currently seeking an Organic Chemist for a position in Austin, Texas. A Masters degree is preferred, but BS level Organic Chemists with experience will also be considered. The position requires good basic lab skills including wet chemistry, chromatography, solution chemistry, and some HPLC. Salary range is $15.00-16.00/hour.

Please forward your resume (MS Word format) to ksr5896@kellyservices.com.

Pfizer has positions available for BS/MS chemistry majors. The successful candidate will be part of a multi-disciplinary team to analyze and develop tablets, capsules, solutions, injectable or controlled release dosage forms. Interested applicants should contact Jennifer Micallef with Kenexa (formerly Talent Point) at jennifer.micallef@kenexa.com or check out position #00-0005805 (Assistant Scientist I-Chemistry) at http://www.kenexa.com. The phone number is 610-971-6429 and the fax is 610-971-6410. More details are posted on the bulletin boards across from Room 2121 and outside Room 104 Chemistry.


The ACS 2001 Directory of Experience Opportunities is now available on the Internet at www.acs.org/education/epic The Directory will not be mailed to students; it will only be mailed to student affiliate faculty advisors and chemistry department chairs. The mailing will take place in early January.

TAMU Student Research Week

The fourth annual TAMU Student Research Week Conference will be held March 19-23, 2001 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. Undergraduates involved in research are encouraged to participate in this conference. The deadline for submission of entries is February 2 t 5:00 p.m. All presentations will be poster presentations. We have some information about the program but additional details, including the online application/registration form may be found at: www.tamu.edu/vpr/srw.html You may also seek information from Ashley Cox in the Office of the Vice-President for Research at 845-8585 or e-mail her at: rweek@rgs.tamu.edu.


Friday, January 26, 2001 is the last day to make formal application for undergraduate degrees to be awarded in May 2001. You must visit Room 105 Heaton Hall to do this. If you have not had the diploma fee (option code 66) assessed to your fees during preregistration, it will be assessed at this time.


For students contemplating the health of their family members as the semester begins, I recommend that you look at the article titled: The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall Of American Society by Mike Adams. This insightful review, which should be required reading for any student contemplating discussing their class schedule with their grandparents, may be found at the following web site: biology.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/People/ConnRev