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…
Related to our recent post highlighting faculty publications in 2016, our faculty members have been busy sharing the wonderful work that has been going on here at DePaul during some recent conference trips.
During the summer of 2016, Dr. Timothy French was awarded a travel grant so that he could travel to The Biennial Conference on Chemical Education and present a talk regarding the development of his Discover Chicago (LSP110) course entitled “Chicago: Food, Science and Society”. He had previously attended a cCWCS workshop regarding food chemistry in summer 2015 and used the information he had learned there to develop this course. Dr. French gave a presentation on how this workshop had transformed his teaching and inspired the creation of his LSP110, which explores special topics such as molecular gastronomy and the way that food shapes our culture and society, with specific focus on foods produced and consumed in Chicago.
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.