From Our Chair...
Spring semester has just ended, we’ve celebrated our students’ success at graduation and convocation ceremonies, and we are settling back into a more reflective mood, thinking about the past academic year and what we have to look forward to this summer. That isn’t to say that our pace is slowing, but rather that the department is focusing on summer research and classes and taking time to repair and prepare for the fall semester. Summer is less structured than the academic year, but our activity level remains high and innovative.
This spring, the department graduated 208 students overall, including 18 with doctoral and one with a master’s degree in chemistry and 189 undergraduate students awarded either bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry or environmental chemistry. A good fraction of these students (53%) are choosing to proceed to graduate schools in chemistry, materials science, earth science, law, medicine, dentistry, public health and pharmacy. Others have either found or are seeking employment. The names of our spring graduates and the degrees awarded can be found on the newsletter page linked to New Graduates.
Our students were also well recognized, by local, national and international prizes and grants, for their commitment to their education and to the missions that they have adopted. We celebrated their awards in late April and these are also listed in this newsletter. Ryan Muller, the department’s Dean‘s Medalist, received offers from University of California Berkeley, as well as from Harvard, to undertake a Ph. D -- creating a difficult choice. But after spending a summer at Berkeley as a part of the Amgen Scholars research program, he has chosen to go there in the fall.
Our faculty and staff have also been active and well recognized. This past academic year has been exceptional in the number of publications our faculty has placed in premier science journals. Since our last newsletter, just two months ago, Petra Fromme and her group, publishing in Cell, revealed the fine details of how an experimental drug works to regulate blood pressure. Fromme’s group has another paper in Cell embargoed for publication at the end of May. Our lab has recently published a paper in Nature Communications exploring new energy storage technology that could give batteries an even longer life cycle. Ariel Anbar has been elected a Geochemistry Fellow by The Geochemical Society and The European Association of Geochemistry and Austen Angell has been invited to deliver the 2015 Bragg lecture at University College London.
I have some very exciting news to impart. The CLAS senate, Provost Page and President Crow have just voted to approve our proposal to become a School. Watch out in the fall for an invitation to a celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
In the meantime, I wish you all well for this summer and invite you to let us know what you are doing and to share your experiences on our web site. We very much want to strengthen our community of alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff. I hope that you will welcome this effort and help us in continuing to build a top flight School of Molecular Sciences.
With best regards,
Dan Buttry, chair and professor
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Arizona State University