DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY
Dear Harvey Mudd Chemists,
Academics like to observe (or sometimes complain) that each year is busier than the last. Nonetheless, the data this year supports the thesis!
Within the department, twenty-three chemistry majors and joint majors in chemistry and biology graduated this year. The department’s emphasis on sending students to report their research at national meetings and conferences continues: seventeen students presented posters at the ACS national meeting in Salt Lake City this spring; nine presented at national meetings as varied as the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Renewable Energy: Solar Fuels. Twenty-one students from HMC and across the nation participated in our summer research program; we continue to be one of the few undergraduate institutions in the nation with an NSF-Research Experiences for Undergraduates site award. Nancy Eisenmenger ’09 and Amanda Hickman ’07 were awarded NSF Graduate Fellowships. Penny Manisco joined the department as laboratory technician. Karl Haushalter was promoted to Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biology with continuous tenure. Kerry Karukstis was appointed to the Joseph B. Platt Chair in Effective Teaching for the next five years. The department celebrated Bill Daub’s thirty years of service with a dinner in October. The John Stauffer Charitable Trust awarded the department a $500,000 challenge grant to establish an endowment in support of student research–we will be able to support up to ten additional summer research students each year once we raise the required matching funds. SuperLab will get a much needed reconditioning this summer.
College-wide, the faculty voted to revamp the core curriculum, making the largest change in core requirements in the last twenty years. The core will be condensed to three semesters, allowing greater student electivity while retaining a strong, common experience in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics. The robust commitment to humanities, social sciences, and the arts continues. Department faculty spent a good part of the fall semester and a curriculum retreat during winter break designing a new three-course core chemistry sequence centered on the concepts of Structure, Energetics, and Dynamics. Chemistry faculty will participate in a new college-wide core writing course, and we will offer a range of interdisciplinary laboratories to supplement the one semester of required chemistry laboratory.
The coming year promises to be exciting, too. We will pilot the new chemistry core courses. Katherine Maloney, a natural products chemist, joins the faculty.
Finally, in the midst of this flurry of activity we’re making a concerted effort to stay connected with you. Not only are we interested in you, but we want to make better, more effective use of our alumni as networking resources for our recent graduates. Please take a moment to fill out the alumni update on this page (also available at www.hmc.edu/chemalumupdate )—let us know where you are, what you’re doing, and, broadly defined, what’s new with you. Also, if you are a Facebook user, join the new Harvey Mudd College Chemistry group (at www.groups.to/hmcchemistry) to get updates on departmental and campus happenings. I’ve always held that the acorns falling farthest from the tree have the most interesting stories to tell. I hope that you will respond regardless of where you have landed. We look forward to hearing from you!
With warmest regards,
Hal Van Ryswyk