The Big Drop 2019

The 4th annual Big Drop was held on May 8 outside the Exley Science Center to mark the last day of classes for the Spring semester. The event was cosponsored by WesMaSS and the Chem Demos class (Chem 420).
A series of smashable items—including watermelons, bouncy balls, and oobleck were dropped from the building’s rooftop. Since many students are asked to compute the terminal velocity of an object falling in a vacuum, we decided this year to determine the terminal velocity of a vacuum itself, by tossing a vacuum cleaner.
The Free Radicals contributed a variety of explosive demonstrations including igniting the largest quantity of gun cotton ever assembled in one place, coordinated elephant toothpaste fountains, and burning the last Orgo exam in liquid oxygen.

Demonstration Videos:
Igniting Gun Cotton
Making Elephant Toothpaste
Terminal Velocity of a Vacuum
Organic Chem. Exam Burning in Liquid Oxygen

 

Tishler Pizza Party and Awards Ceremony

The 2019 Tishler Chemistry Pizza Party & Awards Ceremony was held on May 1 this year. Department Chair Westmoreland noted the following milestones and accomplishments for the department:

– The Department published 23 papers (with 37 different Wesleyan authors).
– Eight graduating seniors will receive Honors or High Honors for their senior theses.
– Six majors were elected to Phi Beta Kappa this year.
– Six M.A. students and two Ph.D. students have completed their degrees this year.

The 2019 Chemistry Department Awards were announced. Congratulations to all our award recipients!

ACS Analytical Award: Leticia Costa
Awarded for excellence in analytical chemistry
ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry: Grace Chen
To recognize achievement in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Award in Organic Chemistry: David Cabanero
To a student who has displayed a significant aptitude for organic chemistry
ACS Award in Physical Chemistry: Matt Erodici
To recognize achievement in physical chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Connecticut Valley Section Award: Jaquelin Aroujo
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
American Institute for Chemists Award: Eija Kent
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
Bradley Prize: David Cabanero and Theo Prachyathipsakul
To the senior or junior who excels in chemistry and particularly in special original work
Silverman Prize: Alison Biester
Awarded to a member of the junior or senior class for excellence in chemistry
CRC Award (General Chemistry): Megan Tran
For the outstanding first-year student in Principles of Chemistry
CRC Award (Organic Chemistry): Sally Tepper
For the outstanding first-year student in Organic Chemistry
Hawk Prize: Frank Tucci and Victoria Yu
To the students who have done the most effective work in biochemistry
Martius Yellow Award: Allie Goss and Rochelle Spencer
Awarded for excellence in Integrated Chemistry Laboratory
The Wallace C. Pringle Prize for Research in Chemistry: Alison Biester
Awarded to a student for excellence in research.
Peterson Fellowship: Cody Hecht
For graduate study in biochemistry
Tishler Prize: Vasileios Drogkaris
Awarded to the best graduate teaching assistant in chemistry

Undergraduates Present Research at ACS Section Symposium

Seven of our undergraduate majors presented their research work at the American Chemical Society Connecticut Valley Section Undergraduate Research Symposium held Apr 27 in the new science center at Amherst College. At the symposium Jacquelin Aroujo was presented with Wesleyan’s Connecticut Valley Section Award, given for outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major. In addition, David Cabanero received one of two prizes for the Best Poster Presentations. The students enjoyed sharing their work and hearing about what their peers at other schools are doing.

Talks:
Grace Chen (’20): A 1H Relaxometric Approach to Understanding the Solution Speciation of Mn(II) Complexes in the Context of MRI Contrast Agents
Eija Kent (’19): Synthesis of Gold Alloyed Nanoparticles
Jessica Garcia (’19): Synthesis of Pyridine-Based Ligands for Use in MRI Contrast Agent Design

Posters:
Abrar Habib (’21): Synthesis of Bimetallic Palladium-Copper (Pd-Cu) & Silver-Platinum (Ag-Pt) Nanoparticles
David Cabanero (’19): Investigating the Mechanism to Enantioselective Induction of the “Interrupted” Feist-Bénary Reaction
Jaquelin Aroujo (’19): An Enantioselective Synthesis of Rocaglamide via an “Interrupted” Feist-Bénary Reaction
Theo Prachyathipsakul (’19): Synthesis and Study of a Water-Soluble Macrocycle

Participants in the ACS-CVS Undergraduate Research Symposium. Seated (left to right): Jessica Garcia, Eija Kent, Grace Chen, Jaquelin Aroujo, Abrar Habib, David Cabanero, and Theo Prachyathipsakul. Standing: Professor Westmoreland

Abrar Habib with his poster waiting the start of the session.

Jaquelin Aroujo receiving the ACS-CVS Award.

David Cabanero with his winning poster.

Chemistry Majors Blow Things Up for WesFest

The annual WesFest chemistry demonstrations show, (Barely) Controlled Substances, was held on Apr 12 for a large and appreciative crowd of visitors and Chemistry Department hangers-on. The demonstrations included the classics gun cotton and thermite, as well as exploding hydrogen/oxygen bubbles, elephant toothpaste, a chemical oscillator, and others. The Chemical Demos Student Forum (Shelly Duong and Victoria Yu as student leaders plus David Cabanero, Leticia Costa, Jessica Garcia, Allie Goss, Sojeong Park, and Kate Sundberg) treated the survivors to liquid nitrogen ice cream afterwards. Pictures and a link to a video (compiled by Shelly Duong and Chloe Qiu) are below.

Kate Sundberg ignites an inordinate amount of gun cotton, which is always a crowd pleaser.

Leticia Costa demonstrates the catalyzed decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to give “toothpaste”.

The Chemical Demonstrations student forum members; bottom row left to right: Sojeong Park (BA ’18, MA ’19), Kate Sundberg (’20), Allie Goss (’20), David Cabanero (’19); top row: Victoria Yu (’19), Jessica Garcia (’19), Leticia Costa (’19), Shelly Duong (’19).

VIDEO from the presentation (courtesy of Shelly Duong and Chloe Qiu):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xg-snqCRKlVu6vEmsbJil2NmIZ61-XTM/view

Chemistry Majors Elected to Phi Beta Kappa – Spring 2019

Three senior chemistry majors have been elected to the Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. They will be honored at an induction ceremony during Reunion/Commencement on Saturday, May 25, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. in the Chapel. The honorees are:
• David Cabanero
• Lucas Mani
• Victoria Yu
They join Alison Biester, Theo Prachyathipsakul, and Alexa Strauss, who were elected in the fall semester. This has been another very good year for chemistry students and we proudly extend our congratulations to all.

Wesleyan Chemistry Mini-Reunion in Evanston, IL

On a recent visit to the Chicago area, Prof. Westmoreland stopped by Evanston, IL for a tasty brunch with the cohort of Wes alumni who are currently in the Northwestern University Chemistry Ph.D. program.  Everyone enjoyed hearing about the latest news from the department and waxed nostalgic for their days in the tender embrace of Hall-Atwater.

From left to right: Joanna Korpanty (’18), Max Distler (’18), Natalia Powers-Riggs (’13), Prof. Westmoreland, and Dan Laorenza (’16, M.A. ’17). Aaron Stone (’18) overslept and is not pictured. (Photo credit: Dana E. Westmoreland)

Fall Phi Beta Kappa Election 2018

Three senior chemistry majors were elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society this fall.  The fall election is limited to just a few students and the department is particularly proud that three of our Chemistry majors are among them.

Alison Biester is from Philadelphia, PA and a double major in Chemistry and MB&B.  Theo Prachyathipsakul, who hails from Bangkok, Thailand, is a Chemistry major and an East Asian Studies minor. He is also one of the student leaders of the Free Radicals.  Alexa Strauss, from Glen Rock, NJ, majors in Chemistry and in MB&B.  All three are headed off to Ph.D. programs later this year.

More on the fall class of Phi Beta Kappa recipients with a completely unposed photo may be found at: http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2018/12/06/16-seniors-elected-to-phi-beta-kappa/

Free Radicals Fall Day at Lyman Orchards

On a recent Saturday, the Free Radicals and chemistry graduate students traveled to Lyman Orchards for an afternoon of apple picking–a first-time adventure for several of the students. After filling their stomachs and bags with apples, Professor Andrea Roberts and the students had a tasty lunch and shopped for delicious cider, cider donuts, and Lyman cheese spread.

According to former Free Radicals officer and MA candidate Giselle Reyes ‘19, “It was nice to be able to spend some time with my fellow radicals outside of Hall-Atwater and fill my belly with tasty apples, donuts, and cider from Lyman Orchards. I discovered my new favorite apple (The Jonamac!) and strengthened friendships along the way.” Truly an unforgettable day for the chemistry majors, students de-stressed and bonded, simply enjoying each other’s company and the beautiful autumn scenery.

-submitted by Theo Prachyathipsakul

(From left to right, top to bottom): Dr. Susanna Stephens (Postdoctoral Research Associate in Novick lab), Yoana Throssell (Graduate Student in Calter Lab), David Cabanero ‘19, Giselle Reyes BA/MA in Fry Lab ’19, May Do ‘20, Tenzin Ngodup ‘20, Shelly Duong ‘19, Chien Ho ‘19, Alison Biester ‘19, Andrea Lee (Graduate Student in Westmoreland Lab), Professor Andrea Roberts, Sojeong Park BA/MA in Smith Lab ’19, Jing Jing Wang ‘20, and Theo Prachyathipsakul ‘19.

Graduate students Andrea Lee (TDW lab) and Yoana Throssell (MAC lab) with Dr. Su Stephens enjoying the sun on this chilly day.

Shelly Duong ‘19 and Alison Biester ‘19 covalently bonding.

A certain study group usually found lurking the depths of Hall-Atwater finally seeing sunlight.

One of the special aspects of being a chemistry major is the friendships formed between graduate students and undergraduates during their time at Wesleyan.

Some of the Free Radicals with Professor Roberts in front of the Apple Barrel.

(From left to right, top to bottom): Tenzin Ngodup ‘20, May Do ‘20, Vanessa Ramirez ‘19, Hayley Lipson ‘20, Jaquelin Aroujo ‘19, Liam Isaacs ‘20, and Jana O’Donnell ‘19.

(From left to right): Jana O’Donnell ‘19, Liam Isaacs ‘20, Hayley Lipson ‘20, Jaquelin Aroujo ‘19, and Chloe Qiu ‘19 posing in front of some apple trees.

Free Radicals Proselytize for the Chem Major

The Free Rads hosted a Chemistry Major Interest Lunch on October 12 where they mingled with prospective majors. A representative member from each research lab gave a short presentation about their work. The majors were also able to share their advice on navigating the major while juggling other majors, interests, extracurricular activities, and study abroad. Nearly thirty prospective students participated while enjoying Italian food and informal conversation. Lunch was follwed by lab tours and students were able to peer inside the inner workings of several research labs to see what opportunities await them.
(submitted by Jing Jing Wang)

Nearly thirty students arrived to this event to learn about the major or impart advice on the major.

Free Radicals Officer, Theo Prachyathipsakul ‘19, explaining the requirements for the major and the differences between the A track and the B track.

Alexa Strauss ‘19, a Chemistry and MB&B double major.

The Tie-Dye Tradition Continues

And the Free Radicals live on! The Free Radicals held their first major event on October 6, the annual Tie-Dye Lab Coat event, where the chemistry majors gathered outside of Hall-Atwater on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to dye their own lab coats. The day was organized by the Free Radical officers, Theo Prachyathipsakul, David Cabanero, and Jing Jing Wang with assistance from Professor Andrea Roberts. Around twenty Free Rads enjoyed Thai food and decorated their glamorous new lab coats, courtesy of the Chemistry department. Seniors who already had a lab coat from last year tie-dyed shirts. The group also colorized scarves for Professor Roberts and our administrative staff members, Terry Emmons and Aracely Suto. Check out the pictures from this event below! (submitted by David Cabanero)

Dan Chung ’20 drips emerald dye onto his lab coat with flourish.

(From left to right): Chien Ho ’19, Alison Biester ’19, Giselle Reyes ’18, (MA ’19), David Cabanero ’19, and Sojeong Park ’18 (MA ’19)

(From left to right)” May Do ’20, Sydney Taylor-Klaus ’20, Jana O’Donnell ’19, and Dan Chung ’20

Jaina Wollowitz ’20, and Jessica Garcia ’19

Some chemistry majors and their masterpieces