Chemistry Alumni News

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  • Upcoming Alumni Events:

    Chemistry Department Homecoming Gathering

    We hope that you are able to attend this year’s Homecoming on Saturday, October 15. The weekend is filled with events, with the annual parade at 10:00 a.m., Crimson Huddle from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and the IUP vs. Slippery Rock football game at 2:00 p.m.

    Homecoming 2016The Crimson Huddle offers a fabulous time before the football game to catch up with fellow alumni and with faculty both current and retired, and take a stroll down memory lane. The Huddle also offers, at a minimal cost, a full buffet of your tailgate favorites, an assortment of drinks (nonalcoholic, beer, and wine), great entertainment, and a chance to win IUP prizes! During the Huddle, the Chemistry Department will be located at the College of Natural Science and Mathematics’ tables. Yes, we will be bringing the department photo album!

    Anyone traveling to Indiana on Friday is encouraged and welcome to join members of the faculty, fellow alumni, and our junior and senior chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical education majors for happy hours at Culpeppers in downtown Indiana from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. The address is 653 Philadelphia Street, Indiana, PA 15701. Last year, our alumni and students loved the chance to network and learn more about how the department has grown.          

    Weyandt Hall has been around for almost 50 years, and we’re looking forward to the planning and construction of a new science building on campus within the next five years. If you haven’t been to IUP recently, a lot has changed on campus. An architect will be hired and the design phase will be started this fall. While some of our classes may be a bit larger than when you were here, we still pride ourselves on being able to work with our students one-on-one in the lab, teaching them the skills and theories they need to successfully enter the workforce or continue on with a graduate program in their chosen field.

    The entire department hopes that you can make it back to IUP this year! Homecoming is an exciting time to reconnect, network, and reminisce. Be sure to RSVP to the Crimson Huddle. The registration page will also include some additional web links for the 2015 Alumni and Friends Crimson Huddle as well as the Football Ticket Office. Be sure to check out the Chemistry Alumni webpage and share your news!

    Support the Chemistry Department

    The generous support of our donors provides our students and faculty with the resources to take part in a variety of activities that would otherwise be impossible. Scholarships, special lectures, and support for student and faculty research projects enhance the academic mission of the department and strongly impact the IUP student experience. This support is a vital component that can have lasting effects on our ability to successfully meet our mission goals. Financial and non-financial support are both actively sought. We welcome internship collaborations and donations of gently used instrumentation. Please take some time and consider making an investment in the department. Donations can be made through the Support the Chemistry Department website. To ensure your gift is directed to the correct need, please indicate the correct code for directing your funds. 

    Building Student Internship Opportunities

    Do you have internship openings, or are you looking to start an internship program at your company?

    A strategic initiative of the department is to collaborate and network with alumni to increase the number and type of regional and national internships. Chemical industry and graduate programs value these types of experiences. We want to make sure that our students standout from the pack; highlighting their capabilities through applied experiences! Our goal is to have 15 dedicated internship positions in the summer of 2017 for our high-achieving students during the summer of their junior-senior year. If you are interested in learning more about building a relationship between your company and IUP, please contact Justin Fair at 724-357-4477 or

    Student Scholarships Awarded

    Once again the Chemistry Department was able to award a number of scholarships to deserving students. Scholarship winners for 2014–15 were:

    • Veronica Caro : The Janell Abbott Memorial Scholarship. Provided by Alcoa Corp. in memory of Janell Abbott
    • Britney Weisehier and Cassandra Hanley : Chemistry Alumni Research Fund, a stipend for summer research. Provided by the Chemistry Alumni Research Fund
    • Minh Quan Dinh : The Edward N. Brown Memorial Scholarship
    • Britney Weisehier : The William Heard Memorial Scholarship
    • Carlyn Brecht and Jacob Gregory : The Ron Marks Scholarship
    • Charles Culbertson : The Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh Award
    • Estefania Alba-Rodriguez : The Colleges Patricia Hilliard-Robertson Memorial Scholarship as the colleges’ outstanding science student

    New Instrumentation

    The Chemistry Department continues to upgrade the instrumentation available to students. Ensuring the availability of modern instrumentation to our students is a priority for the department, and an important aspect of the research-based degree program at IUP. The department also benefits from interdisciplinary instrumentation acquired by the College of Natural Science and Mathematics and used by students from a number of departments.

    • Electrospray Quadripole MS — Donated by Thermofisher
    • Ion Chromatograph  
    • Inert Atmosphere Glove Box  
    • Eye Tracking Equipment  
    • Real Time PCR  
    • Confocal Fluorescent Microscope —  Awarded NSF MRI Grant  
    • 300 MHz Bruker Avance NMR

    Research Experience for Summer Scholars

    The Chemistry Department had 11 students participate in this year’s 10-week RESS program. Events in addition to research provided professional development opportunities providing students with resources and opportunities to practice communication and networking skills. 

    Anderson DeBarros – Sudipta Majumdar
    Tuning Up the Redox Potential of Streptomyces Coelicolor Laccase by Site Directed Mutagenesis 

    Elon Denio and Austin Meals Justin Fair
    N-Bromosuccinimide Oxidation of Primary Alcohols to Symmetrical Esters 

    Jared Fee Wendy Elcesser
    A Not So Simple Redox Reaction of CuCl2and Mg 

    Samantha Goldstein – Justin Fair
    Computational Analysis of Modeled Human and Procambarus clarkii 5HT1a Receptors 

    Emily Groegler – Justin Fair
    The Oxidation of Primary Alcohols and Aldehydes withN-Bromosuccinimide to Produce Asymmetric Esters 

    Amber Harding – Charles Lake
    Hydrothermal Synthesis of Zinc Holmium Phosphate 

    Marcus Hewitt – George Long
    Linking Student Actions to Concepts during Titration Experiments 

    Allison Rabon – Charles Lake 
    Investigating Band Gap Changes of K2(Zn1-x,Cox)GeO4and K2(Zn1-x,Cox)SiO4

    Blake Woodyard – Justin Fair
    Catalytic Oxidations Mediated by 4-Acetamido-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxoammonium Tetrafluoroborate

    Kaitlyn Wyland – Avijita Jain
    Investigation of Ligand Exchange and DNA Binding Properties of a New Sterically Strained Ru(II) Complex 

    Plans for a New Science Building

    Plans are moving forward for a new science building to replace Weyandt Hall. The feasibility study for the building was completed this year, and we are moving to the design phase of the project. The artist’s rendition below shows where the building footprint will be and provides a rough approximation of what the new building will look like in place. There are a number of opportunities to help with the development of the new science building. For instance, you can “buy a square foot” of the building for $500 using the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Building Fund (Fund Number 4773). 

    New Science Bldg

    Changing Faces

    John Wood and Roberta Eddy (2011), Michael Briggs (2012), and Sharon Sowa (2013), and Lourdes Herold (2014) have all retired from the Chemistry Department. We wish them well in the future.

    Avijita Jain , a bio-inorganic chemist coming from a postdoctoral Position at Pacific Northwest National Labs, joined the department in 2012. She received her PhD from Virginia Tech.

    Colin Ashe, a chemical education specialist, who previously held a postdoctoral position at Carnegie Mellon University, joined the department in fall 2013. He received his PhD from MIT.

    Sudipta Majumdar, a biochemist with interests in bioenergy and protein engineering, joined the Chemistry Department in fall 2014. Majumdar held a postdoctoral position at Columbia University. He received his PhDfrom Wesleyan University.