In the midst of Winter, one looks forward to Spring and the promise of new beginnings. I hope the Holiday season has brought you renewal and encouraged plans for the New Year. The Chemistry Department is part of a new ecosystem and is looking forward to fresh plantings in the coming year.
After 32-years as a faculty member in the Chemistry Department and the last several as Chair, I plan to retire this coming summer. It has been an exciting and challenging journey and I am thankful for the opportunities over the years to teach, engage in research, and serve various communities. I am especially grateful for the generosity of my colleagues in allowing me to play the resident philosopher. Although learning the nuts and bolts of institutional structure and operation and the fluid dynamics of human interaction has been a mixed blessing, the challenges have been magnified this year as the new College of Science begins to build a foundation in the midst of many uncertainties. Concurrent with a search for a Dean of the College, a committee has been formed to search for a new Department Chair.
Chemistry Faculty are serving in various capacities in the College. Brian Dominy has assumed the position of Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Darryl DesMarteau has completed his affiliation with the Tobey-Beaudrot Chaired Professorship and we are looking to fill the position with an internal candidate. Jeff Anker, Dev Arya, Joe Kolis and Ken Marcus have had a very successful year in grant funding and the faculty are enthusiastically engaged in research and teaching. Bill Pennington, Carlos Garcia and Tania Houjeiry won a NSF REU award and the inaugural class of undergraduate summer research participants will work with faculty this summer. Last year’s faculty search has successfully concluded with the hiring of Sourav Saha, an organic chemist with a research program in materials chemistry. Laura Lanni, William McWhorter and MyCia Cox joined the department as Lecturers.
Quite a number of Graduate Students have completed their degrees since our last Newsletter. Students graduating with a Ph.D. include Vibhor Agrawal (Dominy) and Carlos Angele-Martinez (Brumaghim) in May, Tingting Han (Dominy), Daniel Hercules (Thrasher), Zhe Jia (Dominy), Liuwei Jiang (Marcus), Melissa Rogalski (Anker), Jamie Shetzline (Creager) and Daniel Willett (Chumanov) in August and McKenzie Campbell (Whitehead), Yi Jin (Chumanov), Yinling Liu (Dominy), and Alfredo Picado-Valenzuela (Dieter) in December. Dani Dong (Pennington/Wetzler), Paul Haupt-Renaud (Marcus) and Sara Jones (Marcus) graduated with the M.S. degree.
We are excited to be part of the New College of Science and look forward to the opportunities for synergistic engagement with our sister departments in the college. I hope that you find our electronic Newsletter to be an effective and useful mechanism for keeping you abreast of the developments in the department. As always, we appreciate your support and hope that you will keep in touch with us.