In honor of Women’s History Month, we recently had the opportunity to ask a few of our female professors about life as a woman in chemistry. Hear what Dr. Lihua Jin, Dr. Wendy Wolbach, and Dr. Caitlin Karver had to say about their experiences as female chemists and what advice they have to offer other young women pursuing a degree or career in chemistry.
Have you faced any challenges as a woman in chemistry? If so, how did you overcome them?
Lihua Jin: My biggest challenge is balancing work and family life. I accept the fact that I have to work more hours and that I don’t have the luxury to devote as much time as I’d have liked to my family. But there is a positive side to being a working woman in the sciences. I am better able to advise my children in school related matters as well as in their career pursuit. I also got to have a career in a field that I absolutely love and wouldn’t exchange for anything else.
Wendy Wolbach: I have experienced many sexist comments as an undergraduate and especially in graduate school, including from my research advisor. I was never bothered by them and generally ignored them. But I did have one professor in graduate school who stated frequently and publicly that he refused to give any female student an A in his class. I needed to take the class to graduate, so I took that as a challenge and I practically killed myself to earn the highest possible grade (exams, research paper). And to his credit, he acknowledged the work and gave me his first A ever to a woman, much to the surprise of his fellow professors. He then went on to publish my research paper (a review article) as his own, but that’s another story!
The CSH Dean’s Office is looking for nominations for the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award.
A paragraph or two about your professor via email is all it takes to nominate your professor of choice. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by February 17th with your nomination. Don’t let your favorite professor’s work go unrecognized.
Students start enrolling in courses this week. Don’t forget to meet with your academic advisor to discuss your plans! We wanted to highlight some classes that will be offered in SQ2017 besides the regularly offered courses.
Dr. Vadola is offering a class on Organometallic Chemistry (CHE326/327 lecture and lab). Organometallic chemistry is the intersection of organic and inorganic chemistry, and many of the modern synthetic methods for organic compounds involve organometallic catalysts. This course will provide an introduction to the fundamental structure and bonding of organometallic complexes, while offering an in depth study of the unique reaction mechanisms by which metals, particularly transition metals, react with organic molecules. Applications of these compounds and reactions to real-world industrial processes will also be presented to highlight the tremendous utility of this chemistry.
Dr. Maresh is teaching Drugs and Toxicology (CHE362). This course covers the chemical and biological analysis of the metabolism and distribution of drugs, toxins and chemicals in animals and humans, and the mechanism by which they cause therapeutic and toxic responses. Metabolism and toxicity as a basis for drug development, metabolic polymorphisms and biomarkers of exposure are also covered.
At the MS level, Dr. Grice is offering a special topics’ course in inorganic chemistry (CHE484). This course is a 2-credit seminar-style class that meets once a week. Students will learn about the roles that metals and inorganic compounds play in biology, from enzyme active sites to metal-based drugs and environmental toxins. Motivated undergraduate upperclassmen can also enroll with instructor permission and an exceptions form (talk to Dr. Grice and your academic adviser)
Dr. French is teaching a 4-credit MS course (CHE494) entitled Science Writing and Communication. This course is co-taught with Dr. Sarah Read from WRD.
The goal of this course is to prepare students to be effective writers and communicators in academic and industrial settings. The course is organized around learning how to write a scientific argument via modules that cover the nature of scientific fact, different genres of scientific writing (e.g., reports and proposals), writing collaboratively and presenting a scientific argument to a stakeholder audience. This class was highlighted recently in DePaul’s Newsline
Dr. Paul Vadola was honored with a CSH Faculty Mentor of the Year award in 2016. Dr. Vadola’s nomination cites his passion for organic chemistry and for helping students to find success in the classroom and their careers.
Dr. Caitlin Karver and Dr. Kyle Grice were also nominated for the award. Dr. Karver’s nomination describes her as extremely approachable and welcoming and dedicated to supporting her students in and out of the classroom. Dr. Grice’s nomination explains that he encourages students to apply for scholarships and awards, and create presentations for showcases and conferences.
Congratulations to our outstanding faculty!
Northwestern’s Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI) is hosting The “Rising Stars of SQI” lecture series on Tuesday, July 26. The newest tenure-track addition to our department, Dr. Charles Rubert Perez will be speaking on Mimicking the Bioactivity of Growth Factors Using Supramolecular Structures.
For more information including RSVP information, check out the below flyer or visit the SQI website.
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.