Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Research Begins

Some of our students are researching with faculty this summer. Rachel Warrell won a SMART grant for her work with Professor Doug McMillen to design and refine oxidation reactions designed for certain organic functional groups.  

Michael Partridge and Holly Caparell (a biology major) are helping Professor Grace Muna design an electrochemical analytic technique for detecting steroidal pollutants in the environment. Professor Muna was awarded a faculty research grant to support this work.  Senior Roxanne Sirhan will be working hard as well, but not on campus. She was awarded an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) and is spending the summer at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is joining the effort to develop a biosensor for cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in the stunts of hydrocephalic patients.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Laboratory Vessels - A Double Donation

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recently received a donation of laboratory glassware from Mrs. Robert Lerner of South Bend.  The glassware had been collected by her late husband, Robert Lerner, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Colorado A & M College (now Colorado State University).  Reminiscing about his career, Mrs. Lerner told of his work in the 1970’s in which he developed a process used by the Library of Congress to preserve books.  Later, while he was with Stauffer Chemical Company, he collaborated with chemists at Uniroyal to develop a rubber tire that would not puncture.

Mrs. Lerner also donated a cross-stitched stamp (pictured left) that she made for her husband to hang in his office.  The stamp (pictured right), entitled “Laboratory Vessels”, was issued in April, 1976 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the American Chemical Society.  We will display it proudly!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Awards and Graduates 2012

Another year has passed and once again we see the transition of students into alumni. Our department awarded 4 Chemistry degrees, 4 Biochemistry degrees, and several Chemistry minors.  While some of our graduates will seek employment, others are off to graduate schools such as Miami University [of Ohio] and Georgia Tech.

Several students, not all graduates, were recognized for outstanding performances, first at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Honors Night event, and then later with just the faculty and students of the department (pictured below).  These students are:

Zeider Excellence in Biochemistry Scholarship
   Ashley Compton
Chemical Rubber Company Chemistry Achievement Award
   Valerie Warrell
Joseph H. Ross Seminar Award
   Denisse Hernandez (graduating)
Student Excellence Award in Chemistry
   Adam Grandison (graduating)
Student Excellence Award in Biochemistry
   Mitchell Moseng (graduating)
Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry
   Roxanne Sirhan

Making Soap with Kathryn Haas


By teaching the inorganic chemistry lecture and lab to upperclassmen and the organic chemistry lecture to underclassmen, Professor Kathryn Haas rescued our department this semester from the absence of Professors Doug McMillen and Bill Feighery.  She closed the semester with a soap-making event for the organic chemistry students which was such a success that there was a request to make this an annual event. Soap was made in papers cups by mixing olive olive and a sodium hydroxide solution and then scented with essential oils. Haas's appointment at IU South Bend was only for this semester, but she will continue teaching and researching in the area as a tenure-track professor at Saint Mary's College. Her extraordinary efforts and energy this semester are a sure sign that her career will go far, even though she will remain close.  Thank you, and good luck, Professor Haas.