In our last post, we talked about research collaborations between DePaul Faculty and other researchers around the US and the World. In this post, we wanted to focus in to the city of Chicago and local areas. Part of DePaul’s mision is to engage Chicago and use the resources of this great city in our teaching and research, and the Chemistry Department is no exception!
We have a strong connection to our local community here in the city of Chicago. Below are some highlights of recent and current programs.
- Dr. Kyle Grice does outreach at DePaul Prep, a private Catholic high school in the area. He is also ACS Science coach, working with a local high school chemistry teacher. Through this program, the high school program received funding for supplies and equipment, and Dr. Grice also provides guidance and feedback on lab experiments.
- Dr. Timothy French has launched a “Discover Chicago” course (incoming first year students take Discover or Explore Chicago courses in ther first quarter) entitled “Chicago: Food, Science, and Society”. The course will run as part of the Pathways Honors program in the coming fall quarter. Dr. French also works with the Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, a CPS high school in the North Park neighborhood. He works with them on judging science fairs and preparing their science Olympiad team.
- Several faculty members collaborate with researchers at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS). These projects also involve DePaul student researchers working on the projects.
- DePaul chemistry students go to the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (CAURS) every year to present their research. If you are a student, consider going next year!
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!
Teaching non-science majors to become science-literate and to understand that science is a way of knowing has always been a part of the mission for the Department of Chemistry. One such course that the department has offered over the years is CHE 104 – Chemicals, Drugs and Living Systems. Students take this course to fulfill their liberal studies program’s scientific inquiry (SI) learning domain requirement.
Dr. Lihua Jin, Chair of the Department, recently visited the class to see firsthand how the students of CHE 104 are doing in learning science as a way of knowing. The course is currently taught by Dr. Gwen Baumann. Dr. Baumann is a professional lecturer who joined the department in the fall of 2016. Having received her education at MIT (B.S.) and the Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D.), taught chemistry and other science subjects for two decades at various colleges and universities, Dr. Baumann brings to the class a wealth of knowledge and effective teaching strategies. The focus of the course is on the molecular structure and function of drugs and their use for common diseases and ailments. Students are learning how to think critically about drugs in the world, including everyday common drugs.
When Dr. Jin visited the class on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd…
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
Our very own Dr. Kyle Grice had the opportunity to chat with recent MS graduate, Angela Moses. Read more to discover what Moses is most passionate about in the chemistry world and what she hopes to do now that she’s graduated.
1) What attracted you to the Master’s program at DePaul?
I was really attracted to the master’s program here at DePaul because for one, as an undergraduate here at DePaul, I knew all of the professors and could get more information regarding whatever my interest was given that I knew everyone. It was very familiar, which I really liked that aspect of it. I got into the 5-year BS/MS program that made this even more appealing to me as it would only really take me another year to complete a master’s degree in chemistry, which was something I really wanted to do in the first place.
2) Where did you complete your BS and what area of chemistry did you focus on? Did you work at a job before coming to DePaul?
I received my BS degree here at DePaul University with a concentration in Analytical/Physical Chemistry. During undergrad, I worked in the chemistry department as a lab prepper, as a course assistant, as well as a teaching assistant. I also conducted research with Dr. Kozak (focused on theory) and with Dr. Parra (computational). During the last two years of my undergrad career, I also worked as a supplemental instruction leader and then became a supplemental instruction leader mentor during my senior year. I enjoyed all of my jobs here at DePaul!
3) What area of chemistry is currently most interesting to you and why?
Before I took the advanced inorganic course, I would have said anything physical or analytical. I say that because I love math, and both these concentrations revolve around math. Analytical chemistry is a passion because it was super hard/challenging because here, everything is taken into account, as it should be. And it just made much more sense as the course went on. Physical chemistry is very different from anything that I have done, and I love it. It’s super hard but that’s where the fun begins for me. I loved quantum mechanics and kinetics because kinetics brought everything together and made everything make much more sense.