Saturday, May 14, 2016

Awards and Graduates 2016

Our department is blessed with many clever, industrious, and friendly students that make our jobs so enjoyable.  Most of them were able to attend the graduation ceremony and are eager to start the next phase in their life - whether work, medical school, or graduate school.  Many of the students pictured above in cap and gown are award winners, but each year the department also honors excellent students that have yet to graduate. After graduation, many students were able to gather with faculty, family, and friends for a relaxing evening of food, conversation, and games.  Congratulations to all these students for their hard work and success!

Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award
   Madison Kozlowski
Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry
   Christopher Warkentin
Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry
   Rebecca Shembarger
Student Excellence Award in Biochemistry
   Krista Schilling
Student Excellence Award in Chemistry
   Mackenzie Redman
Joseph H. Ross Seminar Award
   Mackenzie Redman
Zeider Excellence in Biochemistry Scholarship
   Michael Rauschenbach
George V. Nazaroff Scholarhip
   Hannah MacLoed
   Christopher Warkentin

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fun in Organic Chemistry Lab

Students in Organic Chemistry lab finished off the semester by making polymers, including nylon 66 and polyvinyl alcohol gel. Student Ashley Dawson demonstrates the delights of synthetic polymers as she shows off her "slime" (polyvinyl alcohol gel).

This is the second year of the return of organic chemist Professor Doug McMillen to the lecture hall after many years of absence due to administrative duties. This year we also welcomed biochemist Professor Gretchen Anderson to the laboratory section. Our adjunct professors are a vital part of our department and serve our department and students wonderfully, but it is good to also have representation from the full-time research faculty in this sophomore chemistry sequence that caters to biology majors as well as chemistry and biochemistry majors.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Professor Rizk Receives Community Honor

Photo by Bluekrishna Photography

Biochemistry professor Shahir Rizk was recognized this afternoon at the Gillespie Conference Center by the Michiana Forty Under 40 program for his contribution and accomplishments in both the workplace and community.  One might claim that IU South Bend is where "it all" started for him: while much of the world was worrying about possible Y2K problems in 2000, Rizk was focused on graduating from IU South Bend with a B.S. in Biology and applying to graduate school.  But a more honest assessment must be that Rizk is one of those rare alumni who give back more than they have received.

Rizk chose to attend Duke Univeristy and obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2006 for his thesis on rational design of biosensors and multi-sensor arrays.  Rizk then worked as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago in the field of antibody engineering and drug delivery for brain cancer research.  In 2012 he returned to the state of Indiana as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame where he engineered antibodies to study the pathogens that cause malaria and Ebola. He also served as Director of External Programs at the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases where he worked to connect rare disease patients within the community with healthcare professionals and researchers through outreach programs. There he remained until last fall semester when he joined our department and set up a research lab with undergraduate students just as easily and quickly as he delivered successful lecture and laboratory courses.  His scientific enthusiasm and interest in students makes them, in turn, interested in and enthusiastic for biochemistry.

As a musician and a published poet, Rizk has a deep interest in promoting the arts and art education in the Michiana area and proves himself as a Renaissance man of sorts. He is founding member and president of Ulreia, Inc, a local non-profit organization that has organized and supported several local productions in visual, musical, theatrical and literary arts.  Rizk is currently leading an initiative to showcase the integration of different forms of art with elements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  He can often be found at Langlab South Bend, a venue partner for Ultreia, Inc.

We are thrilled that Rizk was chosen this year to be among the forty young professionals honored in the Michiana area, but we are more thrilled that he has chosen to work with us at IU South Bend in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  We hope that this award is icing on the cake of a wonderful academic year.  Congratulations!