Review: Spring Awards Symposium

Summer is here, spring classes are over and summer courses are already underway. We wanted to tell you about some of the things that happened in SQ2016.

The Department of Chemistry held its annual Research and Award Symposium on Friday May 20, 2016. The symposium is a time to celebrate all of the great accomplishments of our students in their coursework, research, and service.

Cate Shamblen from Dr. Caitlin Karver’s lab and Lauren Bejcek of Dr. Paul Vadola’s lab (pictured above), both graduating seniors, presented their research. A total of 15 undergraduates and one graduate student received one or more of the 15 endowed and one departmental Scholarships totaling $43,542, the most ever awarded by the department. The department also presented 12 different chemistry awards as well as outstanding teaching assistant awards to 14 undergraduates and 3 graduate students.

Since 2015, we have added an alumni speech to the annual Symposium. This year, Mary Hannon (BS (2013) and MS (2014)) of Stepan Company, Northfield, IL, spoke to the students and faculty. Her talk was titled “Life After DePaul: Applying Your Degree in Industry and More” and you can find the attachment here: Mary Hannon DePaul Speech 2016.

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Students and staff enjoying the 2016 symposium.

Summertime Chi? More like Summertime CHE!

Summer classes are underway at DePaul’s Department of Chemistry. DePaul offers two types of summer classes – ten-week courses and five-week courses.  Here we take a look at how our department breaks down our summer course offerings:

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Ten-week Summer Session:

In the full summer ten-week session, the final classes in the general chemistry and organic chemistry sequences are offered. The course numbers are CHE 134/135 for general chemistry and CHE 234/235 for organic chemistry.

The ten-week summer session follows the same pace as the equivalent courses during the year. Participation in these courses allows students who have just finished CHE 132/133 or CHE 232/233 to complete the general or organic chemistry sequences without taking a big break over the summer. It is also a good opportunity for students who struggled with CHE 134/135 or CHE 234/235 to try again right away.

Summer Session I and II:

The department also offers two back-to-back 5-week summer sessions, that provide an accelerated pace version of the general and organic chemistry sequences. These courses cover all the material that is covered in the full-year, three-course general and organic chemistry sequences at DePaul, and they do it in a third of the total time. Students in these courses should be prepared for an intense experience! This option allows students to accelerate graduation timelines by shifting a full year class sequence into the summer. The course numbers are CHE 136/137 and CHE 138/139 for the general chemistry sequence, and CHE 236/237 and CHE 238/239 for the organic chemistry sequence.

Students in these courses should be prepared for an intense experience. This option allows students to accelerate graduation timelines by shifting a full year class sequence into the summer. The course numbers are CHE 136/137 and CHE 138/139 for the general chemistry sequence, and CHE 236/237 and CHE 238/239 for the organic chemistry sequence.

Intro to Chemistry:

During the second 5-week summer session, we also offer introductory chemistry courses, CHE 128 and 129. These courses are designed to prepare students for success in CHE 130/131 in the fall. If you are planning to take general chemistry at DePaul, and your math and quantitative problem-solving skills could use a tune-up, consider joining us for CHE 128/129 this summer!

The second summer session begins July 18. The lecture part of the course, CHE 128, meets every day except Friday, from 9 to 11 AM. The lab part of the course, CHE 129, meets Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 4 PM. Students are required to enroll in both CHE 128 and 129, they cannot be taken separately.

Potential Summer Course Offerings:

The department has also investigated offering the analytical chemistry sequence during the summer. The course numbers for these courses are CHE 202, 204, and 205. To date, there has not been sufficient student interest to offer these courses during the summer, but the department will continue to monitor demand for these courses and offer them during the summer if possible.



Science Writing and Communication Poster Session

In the spring quarter of 2016, Dr. Sarah Read (WRD) and Dr. Timothy French (CHE) taught a new course  CHE494 – Science Writing and Communication.  The course was developed to prepare students to be effective writers and communicators in academic and industrial settings.

At the end of the quarter, CHE494 students participated in a poster session, where they designed and presented posters adapted from published literature articles of their choosing. The objective of the poster session was to mimic the experience of attending and presenting a research poster at a conference.

The idea behind this course, which is a product of a Collaborative Instruction Fellow Stipend, is to teach students strategies to confidently tackle rhetorical problems within their domain of expertise, which is chemistry in this case. This is often difficult to accomplish in writing courses or science courses alone. By bringing together subject matter experts in both fields, this team-taught course combines both fields in an immersive classroom experience.

Here’s a look at the end-of-quarter poster session:

What: CHE494 Poster Session
When: Wednesday, June 1, 5-6 pm
Where: McGowan South, 3rd Floor



Review: Graduation Party 2016

At the end of the academic year, the invites inivites the graduating seniors and MS students  to a graduation party so they can celebrate with faculty before they go off to their next great endeavors. We all had a great time and are sad to see our students go, but we know they will be doing wonderful things.

Best wishes to the class of 2016.



Ferrofluids from Inorganic Lab

In CHE321 (Inorganic Laboratory) SQ2016, our students performed a variety of experiments related to inorganic chemistry. One of the most visually stunning was the synthesis of ferrofluids. Ferrofluids are liquids that respond to magnetic fields. Students synthesized them from Fe(II) and Fe(III) chloride salts and ammonia, which results in magnetite nanoparticles. These nanoparticles were then suspended in a solution to make the ferrofluid. In the absence of a magnetic field, ferrofluid is a black viscous liquid, but it responds strongly to magnetic fields.

Below are two pictures from students, used with permission (top image: Pheobus Sun Cao – ferrofluid in a vial, bottom image: Marcellus Johnson – ferrofluid in a weigh boat). In both photos, you can see how the ferrofluid “spikes” in the presence of a magnet.

Phoebus FerrofluidMarcellus Ferrofluid

Student Highlights – Brandon Roman and Cesar Saucedo

We are very proud to have our students participate in research both within and outside of the department. Two of our students, Brandon Roman and Cesar Saucedo, gave oral presentations on their research at the Louise Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) 2016 Spring Symposium in STEM in February. They both won awards (1st and 2nd place for Brandon and Cesar, respectively) for the presentations and recently got the awards. Here they are withe their plaques (Cesar on the left, Brandon on the right):


Brandon does research at DePaul in the labs of Prof. Southern  and Prof. Niedziela in the Chem dept. as well as in Prof. Norstrom in the Bio dept. Brandon has also been a teaching assistant/SI for several chemistry classes. He will be going to Berkeley this summer to do research in the lab of Prof. Jennifer Doudna, one of the co-inventors of CRISPR.

Cesar works in the lab of Dr. Grice in the Chem dept. and will be doing research over the summer with Dr. Grice. He and Dr. Grice recently published a paper in Inorganic Chemistry on CO2 reduction with metal complexes and he will be continuing that work in the summer. Cesar also works in the Dept. as a lab prepper and as a teaching assistant.