What’s Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #105

October 1, 2003

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

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

written by Dr. John L. Hogg


 Thirty undergraduate chemistry majors received $1000 IUCCP-A.E. Martell Undergraduate Chemistry Scholarships for the 2003-04 academic year. The funds for these scholarships are provided by contributions from the members and associate members of the Industry University Cooperative Chemistry Program. The department and the students gratefully acknowledge this support. The scholarship recipients and company sponsors are listed below with the first-year students marked with an asterisk.

 BASF Corporation (John Nicholson*, Robert Harwell, and Melissa Loontjer); Celanese, Ltd. (Kelly DeCock, Mark Gallagher*, and Chance McInnis); Dow Chemical U.S.A. (Brent Johnston*, Adam King, and Ashley Leonard ); E.I. DuPont de Nemours (Matthew Keyser*, Hannah Malcolm, and Caitlyn Smith*); Gradipore, Ltd.(Jennifer McBee, Meghan Stroh*, and Sarah Swingle*); Sasol North America (Kelly Glass*, Cameron Hall, and Blake Yarbrough); Shell Chemical Company (Scott Peterson, Michael Sarahan, and Anna Schell); The Procter and Gamble Company (Erin Castillo, Kristin Hall*, and Jess Miller); Abbott Laboratories (Amanda Jenkins and Lauren Six); Lyondell Chemical Company (Christopher Dalrymple, Andrew Shuff*, and Omid Noormohammadi*).


 Laura Bourque, Amber Jensen, Alisha Roach, and Eleanor Pate have each been awarded Dow Aggies Scholarships in the amount of $1500 for the 2003-2004 academic year. All are senior 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.


 Four current or former undergraduate chemistry majors were recognized with scholarships from the Hach Scientific Foundation of Loveland, Colorado for the 2003-2004 academic year. Students were selected based on scholarship, character, cooperation and aspiration to make a contribution to the teaching profession. A 3.00 GPR and full-time student status were additional requirements. Travis Gilbreath, who received his B.S. in chemistry in August and is currently doing his supervised student teaching this semester, received a $6000 scholarship, Three other undergraduate chemistry majors who applied for this scholarship last spring based on their desire to become high school chemistry teachers also received $6000 scholarships. Those recipients are: Katherine Knippel (sophomore), Lauren Six(senior) and Kim Tran (junior). This marks the second year these generous scholarships have been awarded by the Hach Foundation. The level of the scholarship was increased from $4000 to $6000 this year.


 Daniel Marek (B.S 2003) was recognized with a $2100 Sharon Merritt Birtcher Scholarship for the fall 2003 semester. Daniel is currently enrolled at A&M completing teaching certification requirements. This scholarship was established by Sharon Merritt Birtcher’s parents to recognize someone majoring in chemistry and planning a high school teaching career. Sharon (Merritt) Birtcher received her B.A. in chemistry with a minor in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M in 1990.


 Nnenna Agba, senior chemistry major, was recognized with a $1500 George C. Bauer Scholarship for the 2003-2004 academic year. This scholarship honors Professor Bauer, a former chemistry faculty member and outstanding teacher.


 Valerie Meyers (B.A. 2000) visited the campus on Thursday, September 11as an invited speaker for the Horizons in Chemistry (Chem 100) class. Valerie is a graduate student in the Department of Pathology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She gave an excellent presentation on her research on the consequences of space flight on human physiology. Her research deals primarily with bone loss experienced by astronauts and was quite fascinating.

 Stephanie (Hines) Raney (B.A. 2003) is teaching at Jersey Village High School. She sent the following e-mail recently: “I am having a great time. The students are really great, and the other teachers here are wonderful at helping me feel at home and answering my questions, of which there are many. It is strange getting used to a high school schedule again, but I am really glad that this is where I ended up. I think this is going to be a great year. Adam has a job now as well. He is an Assistant Producer at our district TV studio, so he helps to produce all of the student-run television programs. I think he is really enjoying getting to work with the kids, even though that is not really what he was looking for. They surprised him with how excited and motivated they are to be working in tv, so he looks forward to helping them get their feet wet in the communication world. Well, this has to be short, I have a lot of grades to put in the computer yet today.” Friends may e-mail Stephanie at: Stephmarta@hotmail.com

 Veronica Franz (B.S. 2001) sent an e-mail recently with news of another former student. Here it is. “Shelly Roper (B.A. 2000) has now joined Conceptual MindWorks, Inc here in San Antonio (along side me) working as a contract employee for the department of defense doing bioterrorism defense research. She was previously employed with DPT Laboratories here in San Antonio, a major pharmaceutical contractor. Just thought I would let you know for your records. Shelly say's "Hi!!!" Their e-mail addresses are: shelly.roper@brooks.af.mil and veronica.franz@brooks.af.mil”

Kristi (Denton) Nance (B.A. 2000) has provided the following information on her recent exploits. “ Howdy, Dr. Hogg! Sorry it has taken a while for me to respond. I'm not up to much different from the last time I touched base with you. I just started my second year teaching Chemistry, AP Physics, and IPC at Andrews High School. I'm excited this year because my Physics enrollment went from 8 students last year to 27 students this year! I've also become the Junior Varsity Cheerleading sponsor for this year. Can you imagine me with cheerleaders? It's taking a little adjustment. Kasey and I are still living in Andrews, which is about 30 miles north of Odessa. Kasey's sign business in Odessa is doing well. We still have no children, just the two cats. Not much else is new here. I love getting the Orbitals. Even though I don't know most of the people, it is interesting to see how many different directions people take their degrees. Anyway hope to hear from you soon!” Contact Kristi at: kdenton99@hotmail.com

 Chassity Allen (B.S. 2003) reports on her new job in the following e-mail. “After reading Orbitals and seeing what a lot of classmates where doing, I thought I would join in and tell you what I have been up to! After graduation, I had planned on moving back home, and continue looking for ajob. Two days before I was going to move from College Station, I received an internship/full-time offer. Back in February, I applied for the MickeyLeland Internship Program through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Inter-Mountain Laboratories came upon my application and hired me. They liked my work as an intern and hired me on full-time. As part of the internship, I had to attend an intern conference in July. It was really nice. I got to meet a lot of interns, and made some friends along the way. The conference dealt with a lot of environmental issues and professional workshops. It was great because I got to learn about all of the job opportunities available within the Environmental Industry. Through this experience, I have learned that if you are patient the right job will come in due time.Well I won't take anymore of your time. I hope to hear from you soon! Contact Chassity at: chass02@neo.tamu.edu

Oakley Davis (B.S. 2002) was upset that she failed to see her name in print in the last issue of Orbitals so here goes Oakley. “Am I not good enough to mention? I am a little hurt! Just joking -How are you doing? How is the new semester going? Work is getting better on my end. I am actually getting to do some chemistry and play around in the lab. I am currently working on two method developments. I am trying to detect thestabilizer we use in our plastic on the FTIR rather than by UV to cut down on time. Right now we have to digest the plastic in acid and cyclohexane for two hours, cool it, filter it, and then decant to test by UV. If I can get the FTIR method to work, all we need to do is press the pellets into a film and hit a button. Yea! The analysts here would really like that. The other thing I am doing is playing around with the X-Ray Fluorescence instrument todetect silicon. This is the one that I have the least experience with so wish me luck. Well, I just wanted to drop you a quick line to see how you are doing. Take care and I will let you know when I will make it up for a game.” You may contact Oakley at: Oakley.Davis@celanese.com


Jason Link (B.S. 1999) has emerged from hiding and revealed the following details of his life for the past few years. Hey, Dr. Hogg, I know, It's been a long time, but better late than never I guess. How are things in Aggieland? I'm now entering my 5th year here at UNC working for Dr. Jorgenson. It's fun. I'm currently doing Ultra-High Pressure LC/MS separations of peptides and intact proteins. While I typically deal with liquid pressures of ~ 30kpsi, our isocratic UHPLC setups can reach ~100kpsi. It's pretty cool, though not when we have a capillary blow-out. I should graduate in a year, which is the standard time frame for our group. I'm still married to Amber (class of 99 journalism/poli sci) and she works in RTP for a software company, Sciquest.com. We got married right after graduation and headed straight out here. Anyway, It's definitely a different atmosphere out here compared to A&M. Our basketball team is much better, and now that we'll have Roy Williams, I think a national championship will be heading this way. Of course, I think NC is the only state I've been in that hosted a gourd festival (yes, gourds), which I just had to attend last weekend since I was so intrigued as to what it actually was. It was quite interesting - I didn't realize people made cremation urns out of gourds (whatever floats your boat, I guess.. :) Anyway, that's about all I have from here. Yea, nothing to exciting has happened the past few years, but I'll be sure to keep ya updated. Also, be sure to check out our website http://jjorg.chem.unc.edu and even our webcams (yes, we have a little too much time on our hands)http://jjorg.chem.unc.edu/WebCam/WebCamControls.html. I'm usually downstairs. It's always nonstop action. Friends can e-mail Jason at:jasonlink@unc.edu


Patrick (Kevin) Martin (B.S.1996) wants all his friends to know he is alive and provides the following as evidence that he has been on the move “Howdy, Dr. Hogg. I just finished reading your latest orbitals publication and thought I'd say hello. I graduated in '96 with a BS in Chemistry & haven't communicated with you since. I work as a systems engineer/account manager with Atotech USA, part of Atofina. Atotech sells chemicals & equipment used for PCB manufacture. I've been with Atotech for 5 years, and during those 5 quick years I lived in:

State College, Pennsylvania.....with PSU. State College is like a College Station with trees & hills, although the women aren't as pretty; Salt Lake City, Utah......... Picked up snow boarding there....really cool! Currently living in Washington, right across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon....coolest place I've ever lived, but women are still prettier in Texas. I was in town last year for the Tech game....hope to visit again this fall. Take it easy.” Patrick may, for the moment, be contacted at: KMARTIN@atousa.com


Becky (Lew) Nguyen (B.S. 1997) is joining the FBI according to this e-mail. “Hi, Dr. Hogg. I just wanted to give you an update on what's been happening. Well, it's official...I am going to New Agent Training Oct. 5 in Quantico, VA to become a Special Agent for the FBI! Thanks for your help in the very long process. I am very excited about this whole new adventure. It's going to be a long, tough road...but I am determined to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'll let you know how everything is going if I have access to a computer up there. If not, you'll hear from me once I graduate sometime in Feb '04. Please pass this on in the Orbitals, with my new email address:BeckyJNguyen@yahoo.com Take care! Becky”


Haley Hagg (B.S. 2003) is rocking along in graduate school in Minnesota at the Mayo Clinic and reports that everything is going well.

Valerie Drews (B.S. 1998) lived up to her promise in the last Orbitals and stopped by for a short visit on September 26. She was in town to see the Aggie football game. She can see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Michigan goes.


Jessica Raushel (B.S. 2003) wrote recently with details of her new life at The Scripps Institute in San Diego. “Dr. Hogg, I thought I should probably drop you a line and give you my new email address. I definitely still check up on the chemistry department through Orbitals. My dad has said that you wanted me to stop by before I left. I tried, but, alas, you were attending graduation. Currently, I am working in the Sharpless group. Research is fun, and the classes are... well... different. However, I am enjoying not having to balance classes, research and teaching multiple sections of undergrads all at the same time. San Diego in itself is a nice location, obviously. I am still amazed that the weather made a definite turn for the chillier on the autumnal equinox. The concept of several seasons is still foreign. Just this last Sunday a few of the first years headed to the beach to watch the Red Tide glow blue. That was fun, especially when my roommate and I realized that the Red Tide was on the cover of our Vollhardt organic books. My email address at Scripps isn't much different than my one at A&M. jraushel@scripps.edu. Take care, I hope things are going well this semester.”


Emily Squibb (B.S. 2002) was on campus recently recruiting for Celanese at a career fair. She has recently been promoted to Research Chemist I in Acetyls R&D at the Clear Lake Plant. You may e-mail her at: emily.squibb@celanese.com



 All undergraduate chemistry majors are invited to attend these two special presentations by former students. The presentations will be in Room 100 Chemistry from 3:55-4:45 p.m. on the dates indicated. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to hear what it is like out “in the real world.”

 Stuart Gregory ( B.S. 1994) will return to campus on October 9 to speak to the students in the Horizons in Chemistry class (Chem 100) about his research in drug synthesis at Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals in Indianapolis.

 Vanessa Walters (B.S. 2001) and Melissa (Supak) Valadez (B.S. 2000) will return to speak to the Chemistry 100 students on October 23. They will speak about their experiences as forensic chemists with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Vanessa will probably speak about blood alcohol and drug analysis and Melissa will speak about trace analysis. Melissa can probably also give you some insight into the M.S. program in forensic sciences at the University of Alabama since she received that degree before joining the DPS lab.


 Fourteen upper-level undergraduate chemistry majors are serving as teaching assistants in either the general chemistry or organic chemistry laboratory programs this fall. The students are:Matt Barnett, Christopher Dilley, Lindsey Fuller, Kate Gallagher, Nikita Guo, Jeffery Johnson, Kasey Johnston, Marti Kubena, Matthew McCormick, Adam Rowland, Jennifer Putsche, Richard Rodriguez, Michael Sarahan, and Abigail Wooddell.


 Dr. Vickie Williamson, senior lecturer in the first-year chemistry program, was recognized with an Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching at the College of Science faculty meeting on September 30. Congratulations, Dr. Williamson.


The department's subscription to DGR Web 2001 (the web-based version of the ACS Directory of Graduate Research) may be accessed at the following web site from any networked computer on the TAMU campus or from an off-campus dial- up through the CIS modem bank:



 In an effort to reduce cost and provide more timely and accurate data, the following changes will occur this semester, according to Don Carter, Registrar.

Telephone Registration: The telephone registration system and Tele-grade will cease operations September 5, 2003. Web registration and web grades are extremely successful and will continue to be used.

 Schedule of Classes: Beginning this fall with preregistration for spring 2004, a printed schedule of classes booklet will no longer be available. Anyone may access the electronic version and print copies as needed. Instead of printing instructions, directions, etc., the electronic version will link to your areas of responsibility. I recommend periodic checking of your data to ensure that it is up-to-date and accurate. The Registration Section (845-7117) will continue to serve as the coordinating office and will contact the academic departments for the 2004 summer and fall course information.

 Degree Audits: Degree audits for degree candidates currently produced during the first week of class will not be printed. Degree audits will be printed at mid semester and include everyone who has applied for graduation for that semester or term. A printed list of degree candidates will be sent to each department about two weeks after the graduation application deadline.

Bonfire: On October 5, 2003, the Bonfire application will be removed and replaced with web functions provided at myrecord.tamu.edu. The advantage of myrecord.tamu.edu over Bonfire is security of the information and the ease of use by students.