What's Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #88 April 4, 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


William Seth Horne (B.S. 2000) has just been notified that he is the recipient of an NSF Pre-Doctoral Graduate Fellowship. Seth is a first year graduate student in chemistry at The Scripps Institute in San Diego. The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science, mathematics, and engineering in the United States and to reinforce its diversity. A competition is conducted for Graduate Research Fellowships, with additional awards offered for women in engineering and computer and information science. NSF Graduate Fellowships offer recognition and three years of support for advanced study to approximately 900 outstanding graduate students in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, and behavioral and social sciences, including the history of science and the philosophy of science, and to research-based PhD degrees in science education.

Awards made in March 2001 will carry a stipend for each fellow of $18,000 for a 12-month tenure (prorated monthly at $1,500 for lesser periods). In addition to the funds for stipend payments, the NSF provides the fellowship institution, on behalf of each Fellow, a cost-of-education allowance of $10,500 per tenure year. During tenure, Fellows at U.S. institutions will be exempt from paying tuition and fees normally charged to students of similar academic standing, unless such charges are optional or are refundable. At international institutions, all tuition and assessed non-refundable fees will be paid by the Fellow, with reimbursement by the NSF, up to a maximum of $10,500 per fellowship year.


Dr. Daniel Romo (B.A. 1986) and Dr. Frank McDonald (B.S 1984) were both featured in the special March 26, 2001 issue of Chemical and Engineering News. This issue, in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the American Chemical Society, focused on "New Voices: Young Chemist Look At The Future." Dr. Romo is now an associate professor of chemistry at Texas A&M University and Dr. McDonald is an associate professor of chemistry at Emory University. Their views are featured in full-page stories on pages 236 and 244, respectively.

   I noticed two other chemists with close connections to A&M in this feature issue. Dr. Victoria DeRose, assistant professor and soon to be associate professor of chemistry at Texas A&M, is featured on page 263. Dr. Wilfredo Colon (Ph.D. from A&M in 1993), an assistant professor of chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is featured on page 225.


Dr. Wendy Keeney-Kennicutt, senior lecturer and associate director of the first year chemistry program at A&M, has been selected to receive an Association of Former Students Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching on on May 3, 2001 in Rudder Theatre at 1:30 p.m. Congratulations Dr. Kennicutt.


Dr. Paul Cremer, assistant professor of chemistry, has been selected to receive a Beckman Young Investigators award. Dr. Cremer is one out of 16 young scientists in the United States receiving this award in 2001. Congratulations Dr. Cremer.


Pre-registration begins April 11 by phone. Honors registration begins at 10 p.m. Monday, April 9 and continues until 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 at which time the normal registration begins by classification. Both summer and fall registration may be completed during this time. You may wish to schedule an appointment to talk with Dr. Tiner or Dr. Hogg well in advance of that date to avoid the rush. The class schedule books are now available and the classes scheduled are listed on Bonfire already. Be sure to check your TAMU undergraduate catalog to make sure you are registering for the appropriate courses.

Remember to check to see if there are special sections of courses required for chemistry majors or if there are differences in lab requirements for BS and BA chemistry majors. For instance, all chemistry majors must take either the majors section (503) or honors section (200) of Chemistry 227 and 228 unless they have written permission from me to do otherwise. Likewise, all chemistry majors must take Chemistry 231 and 234 organic labs and not Chemistry 237 and 238.


College of Science undergraduate degree candidates for the spring semester will receive their diplomas at the ceremony on Saturday morning, May 12 at 9 a.m.


Chemistry majors graduating in May 2001 will be honored at a reception in the Chemistry foyer on Friday afternoon, May 11 from 3-4 p.m. Refreshments will be served. All seniors and their parents are invited as are all chemistry faculty. Invitations will be sent shortly to the students and their parents.


The outstanding undergraduate chemistry majors will be honored at the ACS Student Affiliate banquet to be held on Friday, April 27. Watch for details of this banquet from your ACS Student Affiliate Organization and plan to attend.


Two outstanding undergraduate chemistry majors will receive Celanese Excellence Awards at a banquet hosted by Celanese on Wednesday, April 18 in the Clayton Williams Alumni Center. Several outstanding applications were received from junior and senior chemistry majors.


Michael Irwin, junior chemistry major, has been selected to spend the summer doing undergraduate research in carbonyl cluster chemistry with Dr. Kenton Whitmire at Rice University. Michael has been conducting undergraduate research under the direction of Dr. John Fackler at Texas A&M and has won recognition for his research at undergraduate research conferences.

Erin Guidry, junior chemistry major, will spend the summer doing research in the Polyurethanes Division at Dow Chemical in Freeport.


Becky Lew (B.S. 1997) has announced her engagement to Steve Nguyen ('97 B.S. BANA). They plan to marry on March 16, 2002 in Houston, TX.

Shawn Kucera (B.A. 2000) has been accepted into the graduate program in analytical chemistry at Pennsylvania State University this fall.

Erin Witt (B.S. 2000) recently made a scientific presentation at a conference in Washington, D.C. Erin has been working at Millipore Corporation but, as she and Dr. James Snow (B.S. 1982) both e-mailed to note, she now works for Mykrolis, which used to be the microelectronics part of Millipore. Her e-mail address is now: Erin_Witt@Mykrolis.com

Angie Wacker (B.A. 1999) spoke to the ACS student affiliate chapter on March 22. She gave a fascinating talk about her experiences as a forensic chemist with the DEA in the Dallas Regional Lab. Her slides presented a collection of technical analytical methods familiar to the chemistry majors in attendance as well as some unusual photos of clandestine drug labs, cocaine confiscations, etc. Her duties range from drug busts (after the place is secured by armed DEA agents), sample collection, identification and testimony in state and federal court. It sounded like quite an exciting career and Angie said interested parties could contact her for information. She actually learned of this job at the following web site: www.usajobs.opm.gov

Angie may be contacted at:

Angie Wacker, Forensic Chemist

South Central Regional Laboratory

1880 Regal Row

Dallas, TX 75235

Telephone: 214-640-0964


Audra Robertson (B.A. 1995) reports on her adventures in medical school at San Antonio in the following e-mail. Audra spent some time in the chemical industry before entering medical school recently. Again, I don't think she'll mind me sharing her good news with you.

"Hello Dr. Hogg! How are you? I hope you and your family are doing well. Also tell Marilyn hello for me.

I just wanted to touch base and tell you how I was. Second year medical school is pretty hard. I study constantly. I can only imagine the kind of student I would have been at A&M if I would have studied this hard in undergrad! I finished last year with a 3.88 GPA but after this year (with its few extra B's), I will still have a good GPA but not what I would like. I really like medical school. It fits me. This is my second year as class president which is fun b/c I get to rub elbows with all the Deans. I've even been selected for the Medical School Vice Dean search committee. Also, after my trip to Mayo (Rochester, MN) this summer for a summer program, I think I might lean toward OB/Gyn or Internal Medicine with a sub-specialty in Endocrinology. That will probably change after 3rd year.

I still have to thank you (over and over) for all your help and encouragement. If anyone is interested in UTHSCSA Med, don't hesitate to give them my e-mail  robertsona@uthscsa.edu Take Care!"


Jodi Crutchfield (B.A. 1997) has returned to Nepal to teach and sent the following e-mail recently. I thought her friends would like to know of her exploits and I hope she doesn't mind the reproduction.

"Hi Dr. Hogg: Thanks for sending me the web site of the Orbitals. I actually was feeling a bit out of touch with the university when you wrote. It's good to hear from you. How are your children, what grade are they in now? And your wife? I hope you are all happy and healthy.

I'm still in Nepal. I finished peace corps a year ago (I can't believe it!!). I'm teaching chemistry and 6th grade math and science in the international school here. It's a neat job. I am living in Kathmandu which is fine despite the horrid pollution. I live on the outskirts so it is actually lovely where I live, I get a beautiful view of the city from here and I live at the edge of a forest where I can go jogging away from the pollution. I have been traveling only a bit, I went to Europe over the summer and returned home (as a result of threats from the parents) for a couple of months. This Christmas I was enjoying the beaches of Thailand and Cambodia. I also traveled through the countryside of Cambodia, I managed to safely maneuver through the mine fields and visited the most amazing temples at Ankor Wat (apparently they shot the movie Tomb Raider there). Cambodia is lovely. I totally recommend a stop through Cambodia when in southeastern Asia. And, I'm off to visit my original village of peace corps at the end of March. I'm excited, I haven't returned for a year and a half. I'm looking forward to just walking for days, I need to get out of the city.

I took loads of pictures of the map project that we did as a result of the money donated by the chemistry club. Did I send those to you? If not, I can now send them over email. Let me know, the map is neat if you haven't seen it. I'm off for a jog. Keep in touch. Cheers, Jodi (jcrutch@hotmail.com)


Dr. Kevin Judice (B.S. 1985) recently wrote Dr. John Fackler to congratulate him on an ACS award and Dr. Fackler was kind enough to pass the letter on to me. Kevin took his Ph.D. with Professor Donald Cram at UCLA and then joined Genentech. I contacted Kevin (an old basketball buddy when I was much younger and he was an undergraduate) and he sent along the following (slightly edited) e-mail.

"Many strange and wonderful things happened in grad school, my postdoc, and my subsequent days at Genentech (which was basically a second postdoc).

My life now is basically everything I could possibly have wished for, and then some. I live in a great house very near the beach with my longtime partner Jayme, two cats, and a dog. Our neighborhood is nice, full of trees and kids, and we are surrounded by folks more or less our age who are fun to be around. Our house is on a hill overlooking the ocean and from our deck you can see the tail end of a world-famous surf spot called "Maverick's", where some of the biggest waves on the planet come crashing in each and every winter. I am still surfing and enjoy it very much.

Jayme has a masters in English lit and is now using it as a free-lance grant writer for non-profit organizations.

My professional life is very satisfying, as well. I am currently in charge of a group of 60 chemists at our little (actually medium-sized) company. There are a total of 180 people in research and 250 overall so my responsibilities are a relatively large share of the total at Advanced Medicine. A drug discovered in my lab a few years ago has evolved into a compound headed--with some luck and favorable toxicology results--into clinical trials later this year. Watching this process has been a terrific education for me.

Anyway, that is the thumbnail sketch. If you are coming to California anytime soon please contact me; I'd love to see you for dinner. In the meantime take care and give my best to Janet.

If you have any promising undergraduates who wish to spend a couple of years in industry before jetting off to graduate school, please send them my way. We are always in the hunt for bright BS (or MS) students at our shop.

With best regards, Kevin (kjudice@advmedicine.com)


Chiron Corporation has positions available for BS/BA or MS chemists. These positions are in medicinal chemistry or combinatorial chemistry. Check out the poster outside Room 104 or send your C.V. to the following address and check out the web site at www.chiron.com:

Allan Wagman, Ph.D.

Scientist II, Organic and Medicinal Chemistry

Chiron Corporation

4560 Horton Street, Mail Stop 4.5

Emeryville, CA 94608

Fax: 510-923-3360

Pfizer: It's that time when students are searching for challenging career opportunities. I am an executive recruiter working with Pfizer. I had contacted you in December regarding open positions with Pfizer. I am still interested in contacting your Chemistry students graduating with either an MS or BS this spring. Currently, I am working on several multi-level positions for Pfizer in their Central Research Facility, located in Groton, CT. I have attached a copy of the position description for you to review and pass along to your students. Pfizer is looking for graduates with strong Chemistry backgrounds and research or internship experience. This is a great opportunity and I would really like to speak with anyone who may be interested. Thank you for your help . Feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have.

Jennifer Micallef
983 Old Eagle School Road
Wayne, PA 19087
(610) 971-6429 Direct Dial
(610)971-6410 FAX


The application forms for the George C. Bauer Scholarships are now available, for chemistry majors only, in Room 104 Chemistry from Ms. Marylin Warren. These scholarships (typically about three $300-$400 awards) are for the 2001-2002 academic year. The simple application is due by May 1 and the awards will be announced during the summer. Financial need is the main criterion for selection although academic performance is considered if financial need is equal. Chemistry majors who will be juniors or seniors during the 2001-02 academic year are eligible for the scholarships. The chemistry undergraduate awards committee will review the applications and make recommendations for the awards. We typically receive very few applications for these scholarships so I encourage you to apply. We have decided to wait until after spring 2001 grades are submitted to make the decisions this year.


You may not have noticed or, if you did, not cared but there was no issue of Orbitals for March 2001. Why you might ask? The simple reason is that I just didn't get it done. Janet and I were in the process of moving into a new home after our home unexpectedly sold the first day we put it on the market and that really took some time. I thought that the move we made eleven years ago was to be our last, but it has not turned out that way. Seems like we had much more stuff and our children (actually 22 and 20 years old) didn't want us to throw away anything. Please have pity on your parents if you are ever in this situation and take your stuff. Anyway, we are now moved and almost settled in. Janet is almost as compulsive as I am about organization so all the boxes were gone from the house within two days. (Yes, they were all recycled). I have a large back yard in which to plant something and I hope to continue my hobby of sticking things in the ground and see if they grow. Anyway, I can assure you that if another month of Orbitals is missed I don't expect it to be because we've moved again.

I plan to put out a May 1 issue of Orbitals so finals won't be the only thing exciting that happens that week Remember that May 1 has been "redefined" to be a Friday for class purposes and that May 2 and 3 are reading days. Finals begin on May 4 and end on May 9.