What's Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #93 February 1, 2002

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


Although Orbitals has never had much style, you may notice a change in the content of Orbitals now. Much of the information I formerly provided to current students via Orbitals is now routinely dispatched bye-mail almost as soon as I get it. Thus, I expect that Orbitals will possibly be coming out less frequently and that, when it does come out, it will contain more news of former students. One can never tell but, if this issue is any indication that is what you can expect in the future. Of course, there will still always be some program and university news which I wish to share with both current and former students, faculty and colleagues so don't expect Orbitals to totally disappear. Again, I ask for the indulgence of those who e-mails I share with the "rest of the world" because I know your former classmates, friends and colleagues enjoy hearing about you. A good rule of thumb is this, if you don't want it to appear in Orbitals then don't tell me.



The Texas A&M faculty senate approved some minor revisions in the B.A. and B.S. chemistry degree plans for the 2002-2003 Undergraduate Catalog at the January 14, 2002 meeting. The B.A. students will now be allowed to take either Physics 201 and 202 or Physics 218 and 208/219. The B.S. curriculum has dropped the requirement for a computer science course (i.e CPSC 203) as long as the student meets the university computer science entrance requirement from high school. Also, B.S. students will no longer be required to take Math 308 (Differential Equations). This course may still be taken or it may be replaced with Math 304 (Linear Algebra) or Stat 211 (Principles of Statistics) or another approved math or statistics elective. B.S. students seeking ACS certification will now be required to take at least one semester of Biochemistry 410 or 440.


Additionally, several tracks were approved for inclusion in the 2002-2003 TAMU undergraduate catalog. The following descriptions will be included and this information will soon be available on our web site.

Chemistry Tracks

In addition to the traditional B.S. degree (which allows for optional minors) and the traditional B.A. degree (minor required), the Department of Chemistry offers five additional tracks to guide students in their selection of electives for particular career paths in biological chemistry, environmental chemistry, chemical education, medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. A traditional minor requires that all minor courses must be taken from the same department and approved by the department granting the minor. These tracks provide the student an opportunity to replace a traditional minor with a broad spectrum of elective courses focused, not in a single department, but in an area of emphasis. A list of the recommended elective courses may be obtained from the Office of the Undergraduate Advisor in Room 104 chemistry or from the Department of Chemistry web site (http//www.chem.tamu.edu). The approved tracks are:

Biological Chemistry Track for the B.S. Degree. The biological chemistry track has been designed for students interested in pursuing graduate study in biological chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology or related fields or a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Students who wish to enter an MD/PhD program or medical, dental or pharmacy school will, in most cases, need to take an additional advanced biology course beyond those recommended for this track and should check the admission requirements for these programs with the Office of Professional School Advising. The B.S. degree is an American Chemical Society approved degree. Courses in biology, biochemistry, genetics and statistics are recommended as electives.

Biological Chemistry or Medical, Dental, Pharmacy School Track for the B.A. Degree. Many students planning to enter medical, dental, or pharmacy school prefer a bachelor of arts degree that contains a large number of elective courses which may be used to satisfy pre-professional school requirements.. With that in mind, this track recommends an effective way to use some of the available free electives in the B.A. chemistry program to satisfy the pre-professional requirements for these programs. Courses in anatomy, biochemistry, biochemistry, biology, genetics, and microbiology are recommended. Additional free electives, of which there will be many, may be used to strengthen the student's program of study in a manner decided by the student and the academic advisor.

Environmental Chemistry Track for the B.S. Degree. Chemistry plays a major role in most environmental issues and this track recommends electives in a broad spectrum of courses designed to prepare students to address environmental problems from a variety of perspectives. The B.S. degree is an American Chemical Society approved degree. Electives may be chosen from recommended courses in bioenvironmental science, biology, geography, geology, meteorology, microbiology and oceanography.

Environmental Chemistry Track for the B.A. Degree. This environmental chemistry track contains a very large number of elective courses and provides even greater opportunity for students to select electives which provide for a career focus in environmental chemistry. The large number of electives makes it possible for students to combine interests in environmental issues with other interests such as business, law, and politics. Electives may be chosen from recommended courses in bioenvironmental science, biology, geography, geology, geosciences, meteorology, microbiology and oceanography.

Chemical Education Track The chemical education track provides the student an opportunity to obtain secondary teacher certification in addition to completion of the requirements for a degree in chemistry. Many students who plan to become high school chemistry teachers or to pursue a master's degree in chemical education will find this track attractive. Students must complete the requirements for secondary teacher certification as defined by the College of Education (consultation with the College of Education is required).


Three freshman chemistry majors were recognized with $500 IUCCP-A.E. Martell Undergraduate Chemistry Scholarships for the spring 2002 semester based on their fall grades. The students and the sponsoring IUCCP company are: Eric Hendrickson (BASF Corporation), Ashley Leonard (Dow Chemical U.S.A.) And Michael Sarahan (Shell Chemical Company).


Erin Witt (B.S. 2000) is now working for Entergy Nuclear Northeast at the Indian Point 3 Nuclear Power Plant in Buchanan, NY but she lives in Fishkill, NY. Friends may e-mail her at: bonfire00@yahoo.com

Dr. Christine (Mullen) Barondeau    (B.S. 1994) and her husband now have three children. The latest, Michael Kenneth Barondeau, was born on June 4, 2001. She wrote than "since the kids (Matthew, Katie, and Michael) outnumber us, we get a daily demonstration of the second law of thermodynamics. Our house must be at the center of the universe, because its disorder is increasing exponentially! She is still teaching at the University of San Diego. She may be contacted at: cmullen@sandiego.edu

Victoria (Vaughn) North (B.S. 1995)  reports that her husband, Matt North (BS 94), has passed his thesis defense for his MS at Ohio University. He will receive his degree at the end of winter quarter, in March. They are both doing well in Delaware with their daughter, Kathryn, who is almost 2. They are going to try to get back to Texas at Thanksgiving next year for the renewed Bonfire and THE GAME. Victoria continues to work at DuPont. Contact them at: Victoria.J.North@usa.dupont.com

Beverly Johnson (B.S. 2001) left for Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean on Christmas day where she will be doing environmental cleanup work as an employee of the Southwest Research Institute.

Marco Ramirez (B.A. 1994) sent along the following very informative e-mail recently. "It's been a while since I sent an update but I am still working for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI...www.epri.com) at their Dallas Regional Office as a Customer Support Manager. You may recall, one of your recent grads, Eric Bowers (B.S.2000), came out here and worked in this office for awhile before he succumbed to the Dark Side (T-sip law school). I do what could be considered marketing research for two sales regions on resources our company produces for the electric power industry. The wife and I are still doing youth ministry at a little church in Carrollton and we just had our third baby girl on Saturday, November 10th. Our pack now includes momma, Diane Kristin Ramirez, and three cubbies: Rachel Diane (3 yrs, 4 mos); Alaina Maria (20 mos); Abigail Kristin (5 days [at the time this was written]). I really enjoy reading Orbitals. Peace, Marco Antonio Ramirez (maramire@epri.com)

(B.S. 2001) sent the following (edited) report on her recent career adventures. "In August I began my first real job with Atofina Petrochemical as a lab chemist. In October I began my current job and the job that I hope to continue doing for awhile. I am working for the Texas Department of Public Safety as a criminalist or lab chemist in the drug section. I am currently in Austin training and should be moving to McAllen where I will be stationed sometime around the new year." I guess Vanessa is down south now. She can be reached at: vanessa_l_walters@hotmail.com

Allen Bates (B.S. 2001), who has one of the more unusual e-mail monikers I've seen, sent along this informative e-mail recently. It was good to hear from Allen. "Long time no see, hope you are all doing well these days. Sorry to have been out of touch for so long, but I've been pretty busy since i graduated in May. I'm happy to report that I finally got married to Frankie back in June, we're doing pretty well living in northwest Austin, where Frankie is in her final college semester (still thru A&M) doing student teaching. Hopefully before too long she'll be substitute teaching elementary school and landing a permanent position somewhere in the area for Fall 2002. I got a job as a synthetic chemist at Texas Fluorescent Labs, southeast of Austin (of course, diametrically opposite of my apartment), and have been there since early August and having a blast! It's a small company with 4 other chemists and 3 other employees, but we're on the grow, with a new facility slated for spring/summer next year. Basically what I'm doing is working out the synthesis of fluorescent probes that monitor intercellular Na, K, Mg, Ca, Zn, etc. ion concentrations, and helping to produce the molecules we already have viable syntheses for. If you want more details about them, go to teflabs.com, or for information on the field, molecularprobes.com, our chief market competitor When you have the time I'd like to hear about how life's been treating you, I sorely miss your company, along with the rest of Bryan/College Station. Take it easy." Allen, here's the unusual name, may be reached at: goatboy_01@hotmail.com I'm sure that the comment, I sorely miss your company, was intended for others at A&M who also received this e-mail from Allen.

T.A. Hennard (B.A. 1991 ) has mailed me to say that he is also getting married after all these many years as a bachelor. "Life goes on in its strange but usual way here in Caracas. People still drive like they got their licenses from the bottom of a Cracker Jacks box and we seem to go from one holiday or field trip to another. However, not all of life is "same old, same old." This last weekend, while on a scuba trip to Curacao, I asked Rebecca to marry me and she agreed, sucker that she is. We will be getting married over the Easter break somewhere in the Caribbean. Currently we are leaning toward Grand Cayman (excellent wall diving there!). I'll let you know as things go further. I hope that all of you are as happy as we are." He is still teaching chemistry in Venezuela and may be reached at: t_a_h_3@hotmail.com

Dr. Brenda (Thies) Colegrove (B.S. 1986) and Dr. Lloyd Colegrove (B.S. 1983; Ph.D. 1989) invite all their friends to visit them and their two daughters, Miranda (6 years) and Audrey (3.5 years), now that they have a pool. Actually they only invited me but if you e-mail them they may tell you their address. colegrovelf@dow.com

Allan Wilson (B.S. 2000) dropped by for a brief visit shortly after the first of the year. Allan is employed as an associate chemist at Abbott Laboratories in Chicago. He is working on the synthesis of intermediates and final compounds for screening as drug candidates for the treatment of diabetes and cancer. Allan may be reached at: saladnerd@hotmail.com

Tommy Miller (B.S. 2000) stopped by on January 2. He was back in College Station for the holidays. He is still studying in England under the British Marshall scholarship he received while at Texas A&M. Believe it or not, Tommy has really become involved in ballroom dancing which is really popular in England. He has certainly picked up the local lingo. Tommy may be reached at:thomas_f_miller_iii@yahoo.com

Matthew Neely (B.S. 1994) is now working with Dionex Corporation as a Regional Technical Specialist in the Houston area. He visited the office on January 15. Matthew completed his M.S. degree in chemistry at the University of Arizona in 1997. He may be contacted at: matthew>neely@dionex.com

Oliver Robinson (B.S. 1997 sent along a very detailed account of his recent activities and I hope he doesn't mind me sharing it in a slightly edited form with you. "Dr. Hogg, it's been a while. I hope all is well down there. I thought of you b/c I'm talking to a group of undergrad Aggies in a few minutes. Lots has changed in life for Holly and me. We're in Philadelphia. I got out of the Navy in July and I'm attending the MBA program at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in finance and strategic management. I guess all that chemistry's for nothing now, but hey, it was fun while it lasted. It's actually a great experience - lots of incredible people with diverse backgrounds. And it's nice to have an "alternative" educational background. And to tell the truth I still find myself reading what Holly and I call "geek magazines," like Science, Discover, Scientific American, etc. I guess once it's in you can't get rid of it.Life's a lot different now-we sold both our cars, my 1 bedroom apartment costs more than 2 times the mortgage of the 3 bedroom house I owned in Charleston, and the Mexican food around here sucks (although the food in general is pretty good). Holly finished her Master's in Charleston and is working at a medical university here studying protein shapes. I played ice hockey for a while (a life long dream), but in December I blew out my ACL and had it reconstructed 2 weeks ago. That's what happens when you get old and fat and you try to play sports. Well, I've got to go tell some young Ags about business school. We hope to see you soon."

Later, Oliver and Holly (oliverar@wharton.upenn.edu)

After about three years with little contact, Patty Lathan (B.A. 1998) sent a detailed account of her life in vet school in Pennsylvania. Again, I share this with you in a slightly edited version. "Howdy, Dr. Hogg! After all of these years of receiving "Orbitals" and telling myself every time that I really should write and say "hi," I'm really doing so! I read every issue (especially about the former students) and am always amused to see what new and not-so-new things are going on around there. It's good to hear that your kids are doing well--I remember when you were talking about them choosing their colleges and their majors...doesn't seem all THAT long ago! As far as life up here, it's a bit hectic right now! I still love veterinary school in general, and have never, ever had a second thought about whether it was the right career choice for me. The first three years were certainly trying...whereas I usually started studying for my Organic exams at about 10 pm the night before (you may remember my procrastination issues), I generally started studying for my exams here about a week ahead of time...often, for 5 hours a night when I got home, and maybe 12-16 hours per day on the weekend! I guess it was just the vast quantity of information and the fact that I knew that I had to know the information.Now that I'm in my fourth year (graduation in 4 months!), everything is still time-intensive, but more practical. I'm living in a dorm about 1.5 hours from my apartment right now since I'm taking my large animal surgery rotation. It's very irritating. Penn is the only vet school whose large animal facilities are completely separated from their small animal facilities. The hours out here SUCK! I've had to get up at 4:30 every morning this week so that I could be at the barns by 5 to have my morning treatments and assessments done by 8. Then we're here until we finish our 6 pm treatments...around 8. And this is the SLOW part of the year. And today, a Saturday, I'm on treatment duty from 6 am to 12 am (yeah, I wrote that correctly...18 hours!). Did I mention that it's FREEZING outside and that there are about 4 inches of snow on the ground...another 4 to come by morning? I actually like being out here at New Bolton Center because it's outside of the ugly, smelly city of Philadelphia, but I could do without the hay and horses. I've had to quadruple my Flovent dose and double my Serevent dose since I couldn't breathe at all last time I was here. I also look pretty dorky around the barns since I wear my surgeon's mask everywhere! I suppose you can appreciate the joys of asthma. I only have another 5 weeks out here with the large animals, and then I go back to the city to finish out the last 3 months. I still can't believe that people are really going to expect me to know what I'm doing by then...very scary!

Albert is doing well, as ambitious as ever. We came up here initially because he got the job with Schering Plough as a Senior Chemist. He got interested in business and started working on his MBA when I started school, and he just finished in December. He found a new job last June (before finishing the MBA). Initially, he seemed to feel that his PhD was probably hindering his search, but finally found the perfect job (and he still loves it). He works for Acros Organics, a division of Fisher Scientific. He's the Senior Product Manager, which means that he markets certain products (chemicals) to pharmaceutical companies and universities. He gives some technical presentations on how the companies could use specific chemicals and also answers all the questions that the sales reps can't answer. He gets to travel a lot, and really loves it. The company's home is in Belgium, so he's gotten to go there a couple times. It certainly doesn't hurt that the Belgians understand Africaans and he understands Flemish. Oh, yeah. He is also now going to teach a marketing class at Rutgers to the MBA students. Interesting...he's been interested in teaching before, but I always thought it would be chemistry. Isn't it amazing where people with a degree in chemistry end up? Sorry...didn't mean to make this so long. I guess I'm getting tired of talking to the cows, horse, goats, and pigs (pot-bellied, that is...and mean!) I get to talk to Angie once or twice a month, and she keeps me informed of other goings-on in Hogg-land. I hope you guys are enjoying your new house and that your garden is blooming. Angie really liked talking to your classes. She seems to enjoy her job a lot, too. It's not where I would have guessed thatshe's end up, but I'm thrilled that she likes it. I also hear about Shelley through Angie...I have a feeling that there's a new little Shelley (or Mitchell, can't remember which one it was going to be) crawling around the world these days! Well, I'd better tend to the horses. I hope that your new year is going well. Mine just gets more interesting...job hunt soon. We do hope to return to Texas soon (I have a 2 more years limit) and should be able to visit then. Please tell Marilyn and Janet that I said "howdy."

Talk to you later--

Patty (lathan@mail.vet.upenn.edu)

Dr. Lynda Yang (B.S. 1988) sent a New Year's card to say she would be going to London until December 2002 for speciality training in peripheral nerve/brachial plexus surgery. She said that, although she is formally a neurosurgeon, her fellowship will be in orthopedics. After she returns to Michigan she reports she will only have one year of chief time to go. It has been a long haul but she is almost finished and we congratulate her. Her e-mail will remain ljsyan@umich.edu


The following undergraduate chemistry majors are gaining valuable experience by serving as teaching assistants in the freshman and sophomore organic laboratory programs this semester: Trevor Clayton, Erin Guidry, Michael Gustavson, Stephen Hansen, Jared Hudson, Michael Irwin, Kasey Johnston, Marinette Jones, Melinda Ledwig, Shanique Leonard, Josh Osbun, Jessica Raushel, Richard Rodriguez, Brad Rowland, Marti Sebesta, and Jason Stephenson. Several more are serving as supplemental instuctors this semester but I do not have a complete list of those people.


I have been informed by Dr. Sherry Yennello that Sean Liddick (B.S. 2001), currently in graduate school at Michigan State University, has been awarded the Coryell Award. The letter of recognition follows.

Dear Sean, It is with great pleasure that I can write and say that the Coryell Award committee has unanimously decided to award you the 2002 Charles D. Coryell Award in Nuclear Chemistry. Congratulations!You will be receiving an official award notification letter in a few weeks by regular mail, but I wanted to alert you first electronically so that hopefully you can make arrangements to attend the next National ACS meeting in Orlando, FL in April, where an award certificate (and check!) will be presented to you. The Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology will cover the cost of the meeting registration if you can attend, but you are responsible for the rest of the costs of getting there. Talk it over with your research mentor and if you can attend the meeting, we'll go ahead and arrange an award presentation ceremony there. Congratulations again on the outstanding research project you submitted, and I look forward to meeting you in Orlando.

Graham Peaslee Chair,

2002 Coryell Award Committee

Hope College


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