Department of Chemistry at Illinois State University


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The faculty of the Department of Chemistry includes some of Illinois State University's most renowned teachers and researchers. Since 2000, Chemistry faculty have received nearly 20 teaching awards and nearly 20 research awards, including the 2009 Illinois Professor of the Year award.
Over $2 Million in active grants supports diverse areas such as forensics, nanotechnology, organic synthesis, education, materials chemistry, and biochemistry.
The Chemistry Department is home to more than 150 undergraduates, 30 graduate students, and 22 faculty members.

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Chemistry News

New Weapons for Lab Detectives
Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry Christopher C. Mulligan observes student Adam O’Leary

Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry Christopher C. Mulligan observes student Adam O’Leary

Christopher Mulligan, associate professor of analytical chemistry, is making strides toward developing cutting-edge instrumentation for chemical detection in his lab at Illinois State University. The application of his work is broad, ranging from detecting contamination in water – such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides – to improving crime scene forensics. One of his discoveries, coined as thermally-assisted desorption electrospray ionization, resulted from a grant-funded project five years in the making that will test water samples much more quickly than the current technology available. The new way of testing water will not only be quicker and cheaper, it will allow more experiments to be done, per unit of water, and will ultimately allow testing at the site of the contamination. Dr. Mulligan also researches methods to identify chemicals found at crime scene investigations. To read more about Dr. Mulligan’s research, please see: http://mediarelations.illinoisstate.edu/report/1415/nov18/mulligan.asp

NSF Grant to Dr. Lisa Szczepura

lfszczeWith the help of a more than $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Szczepura and her team are developing new ways for chemists to study metal complexes. The goal of this NSF grant is to formulate ways to study metal clusters containing carbenes, or neutral molecules that have two unshared electrons that can bond to another molecule. Her team, which began work this summer, identifies how carbenes bond to clusters and how the carbene influences the reactivity of the cluster. To view the entire article, please visit: http://mediarelations.illinoisstate.edu/report/1415/aug26/carbenes.asp

 

Faculty and Staff Receive Impact Awards

The Impact Award, a program organized through University College, recognizes the positive influence individual members of the Illinois State University community have on new students and student retention. This year’s recipients from the Department of Chemistry include Professor David Cedeno, Professor Rick Nagorski, and academic advisor Ally Cherveny. – See more at: http://mediarelations.illinoisstate.edu/report/1314/april15/impact.asp

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CAS News

STEM Fair for Underrepresented Students

STEM posterThe first-ever Charles Morris Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center.

This inaugural fair aims to educate students about majors in the STEM fields. “We have a lot of complex problems in science right now – from medicines to clean water to renewable energy – and we need diverse opinions and ideas to solve them,” said Professor of Chemistry Lisa Szczepura, who is helping to organize the fair along with Associate Dean of Students Rick Lewis and Christa Platt of University College. “Think of it as you would an investment portfolio. You don’t want all of the same investments.”

“It’s the same in science. If you do not have a variety of people from different backgrounds bringing new ideas, then you are doing the same science that was done 50 years ago. No one moves forward.”

The event will include networking with faculty and advisors from STEM departments and meeting with successful students from underrepresented backgrounds. “If you see someone you can relate to, who is successful in a STEM major, then you believe it can be done,” said Szczepura. “And talking with those students provides the opportunity to ask, ‘What was helpful to your success?’”

The evening will include a roundtable discussion allowing students the chance to explore a discipline. “This is not just for students already majoring in STEM fields,” said Szczepura. “It is for any underrepresented student who might have an interest in the STEM area, whether they have declared a major or not.”

Szczepura proposed the fair as an outreach project through her recently funded grant from the National Science Foundation. Named after Associate Professor of Math and Vice President Emeritus of Administrative Services Charles Morris, the fair is sponsored by My Brotha’s Keeper, My Sister’s Keeper, University College and the Department of Chemistry.

For additional information on the fair, contact Szczepura at 438-2359.

Climate Science Workshops Offered

climateThe climate science outreach program of the Illinois Heartland Local Section of the American Chemical Society is going strong. Two workshops on Climate Science will be held in the next three weeks–one at Illinois Central College (ICC) in East Peoria on October 25 and a second at Benedictine University in Springfield on November 8. The primary audience for these workshops is teachers and naturalists, but there is also an opportunity for interested students to enroll. The registration is through CeMaST, and the registration fee ($12) includes snacks, lunch, and a kit for doing climate science demonstrations. To register, visit http://chemistry.illinoisstate.edu/climate_workshop.shtml

Educator-Workshops on Climate Science & the ACS Toolkit ($12 registration includes lunch)
October 25, 2014 at Illinois Community College, East Peoria, IL, 9:00 am – 3:15 pm
Registration, coffee and doughnuts in room 333C of the Academic Building 8:30 – 9:00
Contact Information:  Lena Yurs, lena.yurs@icc.edu

November 8, 2014 at Benedictine-Springfield University, 9:00 am − 3:15 pm
Registration, coffee and doughnuts in Dawson Hall Lounge 8:30 – 9:00
Contact Information:  Gwendalyn Baumann, gbaumann@ben.edu

The group has also organized a Climate Science Speakers Bureau, which includes two Illinois State University faculty members, Frank Shaw and Michael Byrns. Speakers are available to make presentations to registered student organizations and to classes. For more information about the Bureau, contact Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Frank Shaw at cfshaw@ilstu.edu

 

 

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Chair's Message

Welcome to the Department of Chemistry!
Craig McLauchlanAt Illinois State, you will have an experience unlike almost any other chemistry department in the country. Our program combines the best of facilities and resources of a large research university with the personal, supportive environment of a small liberal arts college or university. The faculty is made up of individuals that could be successful at large research universities, but have a love of both teaching and research. Three of the past five years a chemistry professor has been named the Outstanding University Teacher. Come to visit us! You will quickly discover why Illinois State Chemistry should be your college home.

Craig C. McLauchlan, Interim Chair

Seminars

November 28, 2014

turkeyNO SEMINAR – THANKSGIVING BREAK

December 5, 2014

Kurt Tyminski of the Illinois State University Department of Chemistry will present a seminar entitled, “Kinetic and Mechanistic Effects of Substituents on the Aldehyde Portion of N-(hydroxybenzyl) Benzamides,” at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 5, 2014, in Julian 225.

More seminar dates