The Annual Chemistry Department Summer Picnic was held on June 27. In addition to being a nice break from the usual routine, the annual picnic serves as an effective way of zeroing out the department’s discretionary budget before the end on the fiscal year. Students, staff, and faculty enjoyed the traditional grilled treats. Fireworks (commercial and legal, of course) were a highlight.
A total of thirty-nine degrees in Chemistry were awarded on May 27 at the 186th Commencement. The department proudly congratulates all its new alumni/alumnae.
Ph.D. recipients: Joy Cote
M.A. recipients: Paul Brauchle
Yoon Jeong Choi
B.A. recipients: Abby Cahn-Gambino
Joanna Korpanty (with High Honors)
Ji Yoon Park
Daniel Robertson (with High Honors)
David Solti (with Honors)
Aaron Stone (with Honors)
Jeanette Thornton (with High Honors)
Ann-Dorie Webley (with Honors)
Associate Professor of Chemistry Erika Taylor has been named a recipient of the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The prize is awarded by the Wesleyan University Alumni Association to recognize excellence in teaching, as exemplified by commitment to the classroom and student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity, and passion. In the past few years Prof. Taylor has taught courses in sophomore organic chemistry, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, and environmental chemistry. She joins four other members of the department who have previously received the prize (Michael Calter, Andrea Roberts, Irina Russu, and T. David Westmoreland).
The Prize will be formally presented at Commencement on May 27.
Stephen Frayne recently defended his Ph.D. dissertation and will be receiving his degree at commencement this May. Steve joined the Department of Chemistry at Wesleyan in 2012 after having received his B.S. in chemistry from Fordham University. At Fordham Steve worked in the laboratory of Dr. Ipsita Banerjee focusing on the rational design of artificial biomaterials. While in the Banerjee group Steve investigated the pH-dependent self-assembly of plant-based acids such as abscisic acid and ellagic acid into templates for the growth of cadmium selenide (CdSe) nanoparticles, with potential applications in bioimaging, cell targeting, and environmental remediation. Upon coming to Wesleyan, Steve joined the lab of Prof. Brian Northrop where he has been conducting experimental and computational research with the aim of streamlining the design and synthesis of organic materials. Much of Steve’s work has focused on the fundamentals of thiol-Michael reactions and, in particular, selective thiol-Michael reactions that enable researchers to synthesize multifunctional polymers and dendrimers more rapidly and efficiently. After graduating Steve will be joining the lab of Prof. Jeffrey Grossman in the Materials Science and Engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he will apply his experimental and computational expertise to develop new materials that address important energy related challenges, such as nanoporous membranes for water desalination.
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.
David McCamant, an alum of the Class of ’95, has received the very first College Award for Undergraduate Teaching and Research Mentorship from the University of Rochester, where he is Associate Professor of Chemistry. He notes that “his goal is pass along to students the same excitement he felt as a chemistry undergraduate at Wesleyan University.” You can read the full story at the link below. Congratulations Prof. McCamant!
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.
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:
Kenneth (Cody) Hecht
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.