Items Fall 100 Feet, Explode at the Third Annual Big Drop

Giselle Reyes (’18, MA ’19) ignites her favorite “textile”, gun cotton.

The 3rd annual Big Drop was held on May 9 outside the Exley Science Center to mark the last day of classes for the Spring semester. A series of smashable items—including water balloons, bouncy balls, watermelon, apples, pineapple, discarded computer equipment, plastic, and Oobleck—were dropped from the building’s rooftop. The Free Radicals also contributed a variety of explosions including the burning of an Orgo Lab report in liquid oxygen.

Click here for a short video and photos from the event.


Chemistry majors present at conference

Christine Little, Cody Hecht, and Emily Kessler (third, fourth, and fifth from left)
Christine Little, Cody Hecht, and Emily Kessler (third, fourth, and fifth from left)

Chemistry majors Christine Little, Emily Kessler, and Cody Hecht, along with three MB&B majors, attended the annual Experimental Biology (EB) conference in San Diego in mid-April. All three were invited as members of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), a participating society of EB. At the meeting, Christine, Emily, and Cody each competed in an undergraduate poster competition (in which Christine was awarded an honorable mention for an exceptional poster!) and presented their posters in sessions according to their area of research.

Christine’s project in Ishita Mukerji’s lab focuses on characterizing the binding interactions of yeast histone H1 to DNA four-way junctions. Cody’s research in Erika Taylor’s lab investigates the protein dynamics of Heptosyltransferase I as part of ongoing inhibitor design efforts. Emily’s work in Manju Hingorani’s lab concentrates on the link between mutations in DNA mismatch repair protein MutS and Lynch Syndrome.

Seniors Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Five senior chemistry majors have been elected to the Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.  They will be honored at an induction ceremony on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. in the Chapel.  The honorees are:

  • Max Distler
  • Kenneth (Cody) Hecht
  • Joanna Korpanty
  • Carlo Medina
  • Daniel Robertson

They join Maya Marshall and Aaron Stone, who were elected in the fall semester.  This has been a banner year for chemistry students and we proudly extend our congratulations to all.

Personick group presentations at ACS meeting

Members of the Personick research group (left to right: David Solti ’18, Melissa King (grad), Prof. Personick, and Danny Robertson ’18) attended the American Chemical Society Spring National Meeting in New Orleans, LA from March 18-22, 2018. Danny gave a talk on Sunday on “(Ag)Au concave cubes as experimental models of computationally predicted active sites for the oxygen-assisted coupling of alcohols.” Melissa presented on Wednesday about her work on “Coupling competitive surface interactions: a synthetic route to enhanced grain boundaries at the exterior of multiply twinned palladium nanoparticles.” On Thursday, Prof. Personick presented the group’s recently published research regarding “Approaches for bridging dissimilar reduction kinetics in the synthesis of bimetallic nanomaterials.” All of the talks were well received by their respective audiences.

In addition to presenting their research, the Wesleyan contingent also recruited prospective graduate students for the Wesleyan PhD program at the graduate school recruiting fair, and Melissa was invited to participate in a panel on “Graduate School: The In’s and Out’s of Getting In” which was very highly attended. Prof. Personick caught up with Wesleyan alum Prof. John Keith (Univ. of Pittsburgh) over breakfast, and everyone spent time sampling the local cuisine.

Daniel Robertson (’18) receives travel award from American Chemical Society

Daniel Robertson, a senior chemistry major, has been awarded a travel grant from the Division of Inorganic Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (ACS).  The grant will help defray the costs for him to attend the 255th National Meeting of the ACS, where he will be presenting on his recent research in Prof. Michelle Personick’s lab.  His talk is titled “(Ag)Au concave cubes as experimental models of computationally predicted active sites for the oxygen-assisted coupling of alcohols”.  The selection criterion for this competitive award is the scientific merit of the work being presented.  The meeting will be in New Orleans during the second week of the Wesleyan spring break.  If you are attending the meeting, Danny’s talk is scheduled for Sunday, March 18 at 8:50 a.m. in room 212 of the Convention Center.  He and Prof. Personick would be delighted to have you there.

Phi Beta Kappa Election

Two 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 in the fact that two of them are our majors.  Maya Marshall is a double major in Chemistry and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures and plans to pursue a medical career.  Aaron Stone is pursuing degrees in Chemistry and Math is working on a senior thesis in the Westmoreland lab.  This fall he will be heading off to a Ph.D. program.

More on the fall class of Phi Beta Kappa recipients and an attractive photo may be found at: