What's Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #96 May 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


The outstanding undergraduate chemistry majors were honored at the ACS Student Affiliate banquet held on Friday, April 26 in the College Station Conference Center. ACS Student Affiliate President Leah Whiteker presided over the ceremonies which attracted about 60 undergraduates, parents, faculty and friends.

Drs. Hogg and Tiner presented the awards for outstanding accomplishments by undergraduate chemistry majors. The money for these awards came from the Department of Chemistry and the Texas A&M Section of the American Chemical Society. Recipients were selected by the members of the Department's Undergraduate Awards Committee.

Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Chemistry Department Outstanding Undergraduate Award ($200 and a certificate) - Given to the outstanding senior.

Bradley A. Rowland

Chemistry Department Achievement Awards ($50 and a certificate) - Given to a few outstanding junior and senior chemistry majors based on GPR and other factors.

Seniors (4th Year Students)

Trevor L. Clayton, Gera B. Geeslin, Erin W. Guidry, Margaret T. Haring, Stephen E. Hansen, William R. Loesch, Joshua W. Osbun, Brandon H. Posvar, Gottfried K. Schroeder, and Thomas H. Smith

Juniors(3rd Year Students)

Michael D. Gustavson, Amelia J. Hessheimer, Sarah M. Holt, Martin T. Paukert, Jessica E. Raushel, and Marc D. Wilson

Outstanding Chemistry Majors in Sophomore Organic ($50 and a certificate): Five students with perfect GPR's were chosen for this award. They are:
Laura E. Bourque, Kendall S. Fruchey, Haley E. Hagg, Cameron L. Hall and Amanda L. Higginbotham

Merck Index Award (a copy of the Merck Index presented by Merck) - Given to a graduating senior planning to attend medical school, vet school or dental school.

Trevor L. Clayton

CRC Outstanding Chemistry Majors in General Chemistry (a copy of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics presented by CRC, a $25 check and a departmental certificate) Two students were chosen to receive this award. They are:

Eric T. Hendrickson and James R. Tyler

Hugh McLean Jr. Award ($200) - Given to a graduating senior who has shown outstanding dedication, perseverance and desire in pursuit of the degree.

Margaret T. Haring

ACS Leadership Award ($100 check presented by the local ACS section) - Recognition for outstanding contributions to the local ACS section and student affiliate chapter.

Leah B. Whiteker

Outstanding Analytical Chemistry Student ($50 check and subscription to Analytical Chemistry ) - The award for outstanding accomplishment in Chemistry 415 went to:

Bradley A. Rowland

The 2001-2002 officers and chairs were:Leah Whiteker, president; Johanna Mullen, vice-president; Christina Thompson, treasurer;Lucas Smith, secretary; and Emily Squibbhistorian.

Officers for 2002-2003, announced at the banquet, will be: Shanique Leonard, president;Quinn Lung, vice-president; Amy McMahon, treasurer; Michael Sarahan, secretary; andEmily Squibb, historian. Dr. Tammy Tiner, associate undergraduate advisor, and Marylin Warren will serve as the co-advisors. You may check out the student affiliate chapter at the following web site: http://www.chem.tamu.edu/ugrad/chemsoc/


Aaron Justice and Christina Thompson senior B.S. chemistry majors were selected by a committee of faculty members to receive the Abbott Undergraduate Research Awards for this year. Each will receive a check for $500 from funds provided by Abbott Laboratories. The awards, announced at the ACS student affiliate banquet on April 26, are for outstanding accomplishment and potential in organic chemistry research. Aaron has been doing his research under the direction of Dr. Stephen Miller and Christina has been working in the labs of Dr. Daniel Romo. Both will be continuing their study at A&M this next academic year. Both students are involved in organic synthesis research. Christina has already co-authored a publication and made a presentation at a national ACS meeting and Aaron has spent a summer doing research at Dow Chemical in addition tohis work at A&M. Congratulation, Aaron and Christina.


Erin Guidry and Stephen Hansen were honored as recipients of the tenth annual Celanese Excellence Awards on April 24, 2002. The dinner honoring these students was hosted by Celanese, represented by Drs. Paul Torrance and Stan Fruchey. The after dinner speaker was May 1, 2002. Graham Mott, Manager of Technology for Celanese Chemicals.
Each recipient received a $500 check and will have their name inscribed on a nameplate on a departmental plaque which hangs in the Chemistry Building. The awards recognize outstanding academic and extracurricular activities by senior undergraduate chemistry majors. Identical awards were presented to three chemistry graduate students and five chemical engineering students at the dinner held in the Jon Hagler Center. Also recognized at the event were Jamie Cardin, Travis Gilbreath andSarah Holt, each of whom currently holds an A.E. Martell-IUCCP Undergraduate Chemistry Scholarship sponsored by Celanese.

Both Erin and Stephen have outstanding academic and research records and both will receive the B.S. degree later this month. Erin has done her research under the direction of Dr. Don Darensbourg at A&M and under Dr. Thomas Mallouk at Penn State. She also spent a summer at Dow Chemical in Freeport. Stephen's research has been supervised by Dr. Richard Crooks and he has also worked with Dr. John Sloan at the Texas A&M Extension Center in Dallas. Erin plans to enter the graduate chemistry program at The California Institute of Technology and Stephen will enter the graduate chemistry program at Iowa State University.


Jason Stephenson will complete his B.S. degree this month and will enter the graduate chemistry program at Rice University.

Stephen Hansen has decided to enter the graduate chemistry program at Iowa State University after completion of his B.S. degree this month.

William Loesch will take his B.A. degree and enter medical school at UT-Galveston.

Thomas Smith III has decided to follow his B.S. degree with a career in law and will enter UT-Houston law school this fall.

Bradley Rowland and Erin Guidry will enter the graduate chemistry program at the California Institute of Technology after completion of their B.S. degrees later this month.

Melanie Ledwig will enter the Masters degree program in mathematics at A&M and Melinda Ledwig will enter the post-baccalaureate program to work and obtain her Masters in education. Both will earn their B.A. degrees at the May commencement ceremonies.


Michael Gustavson, junior chemistry major, has been selected to participate in theNSF Summer Research Program in Solid State Chemistry run by Clemson University but will spend the summer doing research at Texas A&M with Dr. Abe Clearfield as part of this program.

Adam Rowland, junior chemistry major, has been accepted into an NSF-REU program with the Universities of Arkansas and Oklahoma, most likely involving research dealing with detection of trace organic material in Martian soil.

Marti Sebesta, junior chemistry major, will be married to Bryan Kubena on June 1 in Mentz, TX. Congratulations Marti.


Dr. Kimberly DeFriend (B.A. 1998)received her Ph.D. from Rice University after completing her final defense on April 9. Her official graduation date is May 11, 2002. Her thesis title was "Controlling Ceramic Porosity Using Carboxylate-Alumoxane Nanoparticles". She completed her research with Dr. Andrew Barron and plans to accept a position with the Materials Science and Technology Division at Los Alamos National Lab. Kim's current e-mail address, which will change soon, is: defriend@ruf.rice.edu

Angie Wacker (B.A. 1999) joined some of her co-workers from the DEA to run in the Oklahoma City marathon on April 28th to commemorate the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. You may contact Angie at: texasaggie99@hotmail.com

Shelley (Guzman) Lenamond (B.A. 1998) wrote to say that she is extremely busy with medical school and a new baby! Here is a slightly edited version of her e-mail: "Hello, Dr. Hogg! I am so sorry about not keeping in touch with you. I did in fact send you some pictures of little Ethan, and another email a couple of days ago, but the address I have in my mailbox is incorrect, and the email bounced back to me. All is well with us. Ethan is 3.5 months old now and doing well. He was born January 10, weighed 6 lbs 5 oz and was 19 inches. I am back to school on my rotations and, to say the least, I am busy with some separation anxiety. I am looking into setting up my 4th year and trying to figure out what I want to be "when I grow up." Maybe internal medicine or family practice...who knows. Mitchell is still an engineer and doing the pilot thing on the side, and hoping to quit work and stay home with Ethan when I start residency. That would be awesome if it works out. Yes, you can definitely put me in Orbitals. That would be great! By the way, what is Dr. Sherry Yennello's new email address? I seem to have lost touch with her as well. I just talked to Angie the other day, and truly tried to email you with my old email address that I have, and was going to re-email the message with the one I have from Orbitals, but you beat me to it. Thank you so much for e-mailing me. Have you talked to Omar, or Kim, and Kelly recently? I haven't talked to them in years. Well, let me know how everything is going, and hope all is well. Enjoy the pictures."

Shelley [slenamon@hsc.unt.edu]

Patty Lathan (B.A. 1998) will receive her DVM degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine on May 13, 2002. Patty sent a very detailed "snail-mail" letter recently to say she has accepted a job in the Pocono Mountain area at Creature Comforts Veterinary Service in Saylorsburg, PA. Her husband, Albert, is the Senior Product Manager at Acros Organics. Some of you may remember Patty's dog, Cowboy. She reports that he is ill and receiving carboplatin, a chemotherapeutic agent used for carcinomas. He still goes to school with her everyday and will continue to do so as long as he is able. Patty and Albert also now have a 16-lb cat named Grizzly.

Patty commented, after hearing from Angie Wacker about my accident, that I should be thankful I wasn't a horse because she knew what the treatment would be for a horse with a broken limb. I guess I'm lucky I was born a Hogg. Anyway, congratulations are in order for Patty on the completion of her degree. Friends may e-mail her at: p_lathan@hotmail.com

Marco Ramirez (B.A. 1994) sent along condolences after my accident. He recalled that it was during his time at A&M that I shattered my kneecap in another bizarre accident. Marco is Account Manager in Marketing & Client Relations at EPRI in Dallas. You may contact him at: maramire@epri.com

Ruben Garnica (B.S. 1997) also sent condolences after my accident and indicated he plans to visit the area in June to show his girlfriend where he developed into such a fine chemist. Contact Ruben (or his girlfriend) at: socal_garnica@yahoo.com

Vanessa Walters (B.S. 2001) has e-mailed to say that she is settling into her job as a forensic chemist in McAllen (where she will soon be joined by Melissa Supak [see below]) and to send condolences after my accident. Vanessa may be contacted at:vanessa_l_walters@hotmail.com

Melissa Supak (B.S. May 2000) will complete her Master's of Science in Forensic Sciences at the University of Alabama on May 4. She will spend an additional 8 months training in Austin in trace and drug analysis before heading to McAllen. Congratulations on the degree and the job, Melissa.

Here is an edited version of an e-mail she sent to me. "Hi Dr. Hogg, I was sorry to read about your arm. I have to

say though, that ranks right up there with the wet carpet story and the broken kneecap. You know you're an old man... you shouldn't be hiking around in the woods!! Just kidding. How's your family doing? Your son is out of school right? How's the new house? How's Marilyn? So, the new job will be fabulous. I am the new trace evidence analyst for the Texas DPS crime lab in McAllen. I'll be in charge of hair and fiber analysis as well as glass, microtrace, headlamps, footprints, tire tread, etc. All the stuff that's not DNA and that's not drug chemistry/blood alcohol. I'll be training in Austin until December where I'll work with trace and will cross-train in drug chemistry (because the valley does a lot of drug cases). I start work on May 7. I'm graduating Saturday, May 4, move out on Sunday, move to Austin on Monday, and start work on Tuesday!

I think the Master's Degree was a good step in getting the job that I wanted but really, I think that my internship this past fall was the best thing. I was working in the Houston lab and was shuffled between the drug chemistry section and trace evidence. I did mostly research but did help with some cases and instrumentation validation. I think that the good words and praise from the Houston lab made me a good prospect before I even. I think with so many forensic science programs opening up, employers can be choosier in who they hire, therefore, the Master's will make you stand out. So, if you have anyone who's is interested in FS let me know.

As for the rest of my life. Steve, my college boyfriend, will be moving to Ft. Hood in June, just after he finishes his Officer Basic Course in Maryland. He may be going to Kosovo soon after, but there has been no official word yet. We're just waiting in limbo to see if he'll get sent there or possibly Kuwait or maybe nowhere if we're lucky. My parents are still sticking it out in the Houston heat and will be up this Friday for the big move. By the way, I'm moving to northern Austin off of 183 and McNeil if that rings a bell.

So, let me know how you guys are doing. When the job finally starts, I'll let you know how things are going. I'm very excited to be finally getting out of school and moving on. One day I'll actually have enough money to buy real furniture! That means I'm an adult, right? Thanks for everything, Melissa" You can contact Melissa at: chemvix@hotmail.com

Dr. Dagang Tang (B.S.1994) sent the following e-mail recently. "Just learned about your spring reak accident from the most recent issue of Orbitals. I hope you're feeling better soon. My wife and I are glad to see that you're recovering well.Just to keep you updated. My wife Jen and I are expecting our first baby in less than four weeks. We've been very busy getting things ready and also with our work. I'm currently in PGY 3, doing my 2nd year of radiology residency at Mallinckrodt Insititute of Radiology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. My wife just finished her clinical requirement and is graduating on May 10 with M.D./Ph.D. degrees from Washington University School of Medicine. She'll spend one year on transitional year at a local community hospital before starting her ophthalmology residency at Barnes as well. pe you're getting better soon. Dagang (a.k.a. L. D. Tang)" You may contact Lawrence (Dagang) at: tanglawrence@yahoo.com Keep us posted about the baby.

Valerie Meyers (B.A. 2000) shared the following good news recently. "I apologize in advance for the mass e-mail, but I wanted to share my excitement with all of you. I have been awarded an Alabama Space Grant Consortium Graduate Research Fellowship to study the effects of simulated microgravity on immune cells. Although it is known that lymphocytes do not become activated in microgravity, the mechanism behind this is unknown. The fellowship requires an extramural experience at a NASA field center, so I'll actually be traveling fairly frequently to NASA Ames in California and Johnson Space Center in Houston. Besides NASA funding, the opportunity to work at a NASA field center is certainly a check in the box as far as the astronaut office is concerned. It's truly amazing how things come together. I hope things are going well for all of you. Please drop me a note when you have a chance and keep me posted.. Valerie" Congratulations to Valerie. Contact her at:vmeyers@PATH.UAB.EDU

Dr. Brian McBurnett (B.S.1994) and I re-established contact recently thanks to an e-mail forwarded to me by Dr. Fackler. Brian writes: " How are you? I guess my chronology since A&M was four years at UT-Austin under the direction of Professor Alan Cowley. After that, I taught 2 years at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. Now, I'm an assistant professor at Chico State on of the California State Schools located in Chico, California. This is the end of my second year. Send me a copy of the "Orbitals" issue if you get a chance. I would like to see what everyone is up to. Take care, Brian" Brian's friends may contact him at: bmcburnett@csuchico.edu

Dr. Lynda Yang (B.S. 1988) sent along an account of her London experience recently and has agreed to let me share it with you in a slightly edited form. "Glad to hear you can still wield the red pen! Even though I'm pretty far from TAMU both in years and in distance, it's still fun for me to see what's happening to your students. I'm in England now as you know.....I have settled in a place about 5-10 min from the hospital. It's ok, but old like everything else around here. History is abundant no matter where you're walking. The hospital is supposedly built on the site of the Roman empire city of Sullonaceae, and the church where Handel was hired as organist is about 5 min from where I live. Iit was there he composed the Chandos suite (the Duke of Chandos hired him) and the Harmonious Blacksmith and other music. We regularly frequent a pub that was used to plan some of the strategy for suppressing that "small effort by the colonies for independence". And I could go on and on and that's only in the suburb that I live in about 10 miles north of London. Then there's London itself. Because of traffic, 10 miles takes at least 45 min to 2 hrs by car to get to central London. Hence the London Underground, it's very efficient but expensive. We have a clinic in central London every Tuesday and it costs me $10 for transportation every Tuesday. But London is so much fun that it's worth the hassle.

The unit I'm working deals with peripheral nerve injuries and children's hand injuries.. This is hog heaven for peripheral nerve fans like me. That's essentially all we do. Being a neurosurgeon among orthopods is an interesting experience. My learning curve is so steep right now. I'm seeing how the orthopods handle spine as well. They use different instrumentation and different image guidance systems. The hospital is very low in aesthetics, but seems to make up for it in the quality of surgery. You would laugh at the ICU though. It, like every other ward, is in a trailer like set-up, with doors that open right out to the street, windows are always open with a breeze through the ICU, they don't believe in re-circulated air around here. "Fresh air" is considered therapeutic. After being here, I would have to agree that it sure feels and smells better. And saves on electricity. I haven't seen any patients on a ventilator. The docs are really spoiled here. They make twice what our residents do, work less than half the number of hours, and in the OR and out, ancillary staff are able to take much more responsibility and call the docs less because the lawyers in this country have a much harder time suing a socialized medical hierarchy. Also, the docs are much more paternalistic toward the patients for the same reason. I've been told not to talk so much to the patients because this scares them. The attitude of the docs is I think equivalent to the paternalistic medicine practiced in the US in the early 20th century. Because of the National Health System, it is not unusual to see a patient in clinic, tell them that you're booking them for surgery urgently (which means 3-6 months wait), then not see them again for months to 2 years until they're admitted the evening before surgery (all patients are admitted the evening before, even a carpal tunnel release). Then the attending sees them for 30sec the morning of surgery and says ok, we're ready for you. Then if the patient is not a private patient, the attending doesn't see them again while they're in the hospital.

It's really a good opportunity for me to see how other countries cope with medical problems, before I settle down in an academic job in the US. Just thought I'd say hello from here. Hope all is well with you. Lynda" You may contact Lynda at: ljsyang@med.umich.edu


Dr. Larry Peck received the Association of Former Students Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching on May 1. Dr. Peck has been involved with the freshman chemistry program in one way or another since 1974. He is currently director of the program. In addition to his contributions in general chemistry he was cited for his impact on public school teachers across the state and nation. Congratulations, Dr. Peck.


I am a Senior R&D Specialist for Solutia, Inc. We have just received approval (and funding) for a chemistry coop position for this summer. The proposed project involves the production and characterization of antimonate based catalytic materials. Could you please assist me locating candidates for this coop opportunity? The coop position will be located at our Chocolate Bayou facility, approximately half way between Galveston and Houston. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.
Cathy Tway

Bethyl Laboratories, Inc. is currently looking to hire several persons for Lab Technician positions. Bethyl's primary function is the production of antibodies. I would appreciate the distribution and posting of this notice to your students. Any assistance you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Thank you, Debbie Garrett

Lab Technician: Highly motivated persons to join established company dedicated to growth.

B.S. or M.S. degree required with

1. Significant laboratory experience

2. Keen analytical skills

3. Aptitude for learning new techniques

4. Availability in the next 8 months

Preferred experience in

1. Organic chemistry

2. Antibody production/purification

3. Western Blots, ELISA's and other related techniques

Bethyl Laboratories, Inc. is located in Montgomery, TX 50 mile north of Houston and 50 miles southwest of College Station. Montgomery is well known for Lake Conroe, numerous golf courses, and excellent schools with elite subdivisions or rural living available. Check us out at www.bethyl.com

Please send resumes to dgarrett@bethyl.com, Attn: Debbie GarrettBethyl Laboratories, Inc.

P.O. Box 850

Montgomery, TX 77356