Shenda Baker, 1993
B.S., Grinnell College, Ph.D. California Institute of Technology
B.S., Harvey Mudd College, Ph.D.
G. William Daub, 1978, Seely W. Mudd Professor of Chemistry
B.A., Pomona College; Ph.D., Stanford University
And another year bites the dust. The year 2010-2011 saw another spring sabbatical where I have been preparing to teach two more new core courses. One is a new multi-disciplinary lab called "Choice Lab" that will be taken by sophomores in any major. All departments are offering such labs and students will be able to select which one they take. I will teach it next spring and it will be an environmental lab where students will be collecting soil samples in the local area and analyzing them for bioavailable lead, chemically available lead and total lead content using atomic absorption and x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. It is an extension of the "Lead Lab" we taught for many years that some of you may have experienced (without the teaching component). The second course is a first year writing course (Dr. D. ….. teaching writing? …..??) that I will be teaching in the fall. Don't you worry now, I will be team teaching with Professor Sullivan, so I can't lead the students too far astray.
During the year I have had three research students, Mary Van Vleet ('12), Patrick Chaffey ('11), and Malous Kossarian ('12), all of whom have worked on amide acetal Claisen rearrangements. I will also be working with Anastasia Patterson ('14) this summer developing the new choice lab I described above.
On the family front, my eldest son, Eric, is still doing a postdoctoral fellowship in geophysics at Los Alamos Scientific Labs. He has had wonderful travel opportunities with this position, spending time in France, Italy, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic, where he "collaborates" on his research on models of fault rupture. This fall, Brian will enter his final (hopefully) year of graduate work on a PhD in particle physics at MIT. Michael continues his PhD work at Berkeley doing research that I am clueless about! Finally, Mary Beth graduated this spring from Williams with a degree in chemistry and will be studying organic synthesis at UC Irvine this fall. Finally, I can talk science with one of my children! My wife Sandy continues her busy pediatric practice.
With four college educations completed and paid for, Sandy and I were looking for a new "project". We found one not far away. We recently bought the house next door and are fixing it up as a rental. The house was sadly neglected for many years by its owners and is in need of substantial "deferred maintenance". Of course this means that there is no danger of either one of us retiring any time soon! The good news is that the house will be quite nice when we are finished.
Best wishes for a successful and happy 2010 and 2011!
Karl A. Haushalter, 2003
B.A., Rice University; Ph.D., Harvard University
I'm happy to be back in residence at HMC, having just finished my first full year on campus after my sabbatical. My highlights from the past year include getting to reconnect with a number of HMC alumni in Boston at a reception at the home of Charles Homer P05 and Judy Fabricant P05, establishing a productive research collaboration with Dr. John Rossi at City of Hope National Medical Center, and together with Athena Anderson '11 and Ashley Kretsch '13 presenting our lab's work to Bill Gates during his visit to campus in March.
In the fall, the third offering of the HIV-AIDS class was a big success and it was gratifying to see students become so engaged in a topic that has become so important to me personally. This past year I also had a chance to teach in the newly revised first-year chemistry core sequence and I especially enjoyed the new format of the first-year laboratory. Right now I am looking forward to a fun and exciting summer with my students working in the lab on the optimization of gene therapy vectors for the treatment of HIV. I am also in the process of moving my lab and office from the second floor of Jacobs to the first floor so any alumni who want to stop by (and please do!) should look for me on the first floor.
Adam R. Johnson, 1999
B.A., Oberlin College; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
I am very happy to report that I was officially promoted to the rank of Professor effective July 1, 2011. Among many other things, this acknowledges the hard work and perseverance that my former students showed while working in my lab over the past six years, and for that, I am extremely grateful. Beyond that, my most exciting news is that I will be moving my family to Kyoto, Japan during academic year 2011-2012. I will be carrying out research at the Kyoto Institute of Technology, touring, and attempting to learn the Japanese language. My children have a big head start on me, having been attending Saturday Japanese classes for the past 3 to 4 years.
During academic year 2010-2011, I taught the new writing course (Writ 1) with Pat Little in the Engineering department. We explored the intersection of technology and citizenship in a technological society through several readings and a film. I also taught a section of the newly numbered frosh lab (Chem 24, which retains many of my favorite experiments that I hadn’t taught in many years) as well as the new General Chemistry Intensive (Chem 19), a seminar/discussion/problem-working course designed to help students with weak backgrounds or preparation in chemistry. In the spring, I taught Inorganic Chemistry with lab and audited intro Japanese at Pomona (ouch).
I had two NSF grants funded this year. The first funds the department’s NSF-REU program, which after running for four years I was happy to hand off to Karl Haushalter, the lead PI on the proposal. The second will fund my research group for the next three years. After much effort (mostly by Michelle Hansen, ’11), I finally wrote up “the tantalum paper” which was recently submitted for publication. We have some great new results that I hope you will all be able to read about soon. Last year’s big junior class resulted in a giant research lab group for me this year, with four thesis students and three sophomore and junior researchers. I currently have four summer students who are exploring some new ideas that hopefully will lead to our next big breakthrough.
I continue to derive great personal and professional support from my colleagues at www.ionicviper.org, the online resource for teaching inorganic chemistry. We have written additional proposals for both small- and large-scale projects, wrote a book chapter, and were asked to write a mini-review for the journal Inorganic Chemistry that should be available online before you read this! We are hosting a faculty development workshop at Smith College this summer to train inorganic chemistry faculty in what we call “visible teaching.
Last but not least, my family continues to be very busy. Natty will turn 10 this summer just before we move to Japan. He continues to do a lot of ballet, and has added aikido. Mia is six, finished first grade, and has started doing ballet again as well. Both children continue to do piano, and will be attending age-appropriate Japanese elementary school this coming year. Wendy has continued to teach Alexander technique and recently hosted a week-long workshop at our house. I continue to run, having run two marathons (Baltimore and Surf City) and several half-marathons and trail runs in the last year. I am currently training to run the inaugural Osaka marathon in October 2011, and hopefully will run the inaugural Kyoto marathon in Spring 2012.
Kerry K. Karukstis, 1984
B.S., Duke University; Ph.D., Duke University
I hope that this newsletter finds all of you in good health and thriving. I’m wrapping up my first year as Chair of the Faculty, an elected three-year position that I’ve rather enjoyed as it has given me the opportunity to work with a broad range of faculty, administrators, and trustees. The absolute best part of my responsibilities is carrying the mace at graduation! Thanks to Hal Van Ryswyk’s Charlotte for the photo – can you believe it, the faculty are assembled neatly two-by-two!
My NSF-ADVANCE grant activities have been wide-ranging this year including a guest editorial and an audio conference on career advice for women science faculty for Inside Higher Ed last fall. My co-principal investigators and I also published our ACS Symposium volume (from the San Francisco March 2010 meeting) Mentoring Strategies to Facilitate the Advancement of Women Faculty. It was wonderful to see so many of you at the Anaheim ACS meeting – let’s meet again next spring in San Diego.
Of course, teaching (PChem and the new frosh core chemistry course Dynamics) and research keep me busy as well. Please keep in touch – your email messages, holiday cards, and surprise visits mean so much!
Mitsuru Kubota Emeritus
Katherine Maloney, 2009
B.S., Pacific Lutheran University, Ph.D., Cornell University
Penny Manisco, 2008
B.S., University of Southern California
Lab Tech and Chemical Hygiene Officer
B.S., Tuskegee University
Gerald Van Hecke ’61, 1970
B.S., Harvey Mudd College; Ph.D., Princeton University
Academic 2010-2011 was not much different than last year except for offering Industrial Chemistry in the fall and a new course in Advanced Group Theory in the spring. The latter course was excellent demonstration of just because you know about something does not mean you know something. The course was a learning experience for students and instructor and was fun, even I say so myself. In addition to the new course, my spring assignment was C52 Group Theory, Quantum Chemistry, and Spectroscopy [G,Q&S] and general chemistry laboratory.
Arthur Vasek '11 will be missed around the lab, especially since he was a fixture since his sophomore year. Uncertainty what to do next, he is enjoying [I hope at least] some rest and relaxation.
Bram Carlson '13 joined John Robinson '12 in the spring to work on the vapor detection project. Both Bram and John are continuing their efforts during the summer.
This spring three sophomores joined the Karukstis/Van Hecke joint project, two of which are continuing during the summer of 2011. Emma Van Burns '13, Scott Rayermann '13, and Chance Crompton '13 are working on the various aspects of the glucosides/water phase diagrams.
Though Heidi Linder '11 joined the 2010 summer research group later in the summer, she stayed in the Karukstis/Van Hecke group to finish her senior thesis and on graduation is looking for employment in the Texas area. [Any alums in Texas need an excellent new employee?]
Not too much professional travel this year. The Gordon Research Conference on Liquid Crystals held at Mount Holyoke College is about it unless you count driving to Anaheim for the National ACS Meeting as real travel – of course driving the 57 freeway can always be a challenge.
The Board of Governors of the Alumni Association continues as a major volunteer effort. The whirlwind weekend in London with European alumni of the Claremont Colleges highlighted by a dinner at the home of Michael Wilson '63 in London made one glad to be an alumnus.
Hal Van Ryswyk, 1986
B.A., Carleton College; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Being department chair has its perks. The best one this past year was being asked to judge the 3rd annual 2nd floor vs. 3rd floor bake-off. The offerings and presentations were amazing as the second floor won, yet again – see the Harvey Mudd College Chemistry Alumni Facebook page for photos of the delectable entries. Research on nanostructured photoanode architecture and porphyrin dye attachment in dye-sensitized solar cells continues with a talented group of students making great progress. Daniel O’Neil ‘11, Ha Seong Kim ‘11, Laura Collins ‘11, and John Cvitkovic ’11 presented a poster on their work at the Gordon Research Symposium on Renewable Energy: Solar Fuels in Ventura, California, and another four posters at the spring national ACS meeting in Anaheim. Meanwhile, I may be turning into a mass spectroscopist. Sure, the ability to monitor syntheses with mass spec in house, including those of our custom-made zinc porphyrin dyes and osmium porphyrin dimers, is seductive. But this year we used the ion trap mass spectrometer instrumental methods lab to unfold myoglobin and selectively label solvent-accessible lysines with 18-crown-6 ether adducts. No, the new instrument will never make me a biochemist, but I am continually amazed by all that we can do with it! This year saw the second offering of Materials science for energy conversion and storage, a course cross-listed in chemistry, engineering, and physics. It was supposed to be a seminar, but it ended up being a class of 28 that could only meet over lunch on Fridays… In addition to teaching, I helped organize the 2010 Bruce J. Nelson ‘74 Distinguished Speaker Series on the potential for solar energy to power the planet sustainably.
At home Charlotte and I are officially “empty nesters.” Our younger daughter, Claire, graduated from Goucher College with a B.A. in Dance and has gone out into the world to find work. (Well, not too far. She lives on 8th Street about three blocks from our house!) Our older daughter Liesl has started her final year of work on a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Oregon. Charlotte teaches elementary music at Vista del Valle Elementary (home of years two and five of the Lead Project) where she leads the only elementary school orchestra in Claremont. She has her own studio, teaches violin, viola, and cello in the after-school strings program across Claremont, and when time allows, composes.
David A.Vosburg, 2005
B.A. Williams College, Ph.D. The Scripps Research Institute
Kimberly Young, 1989