CHEMISTRY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR Dear Alumni and Friends, I am pleased to introduce our Spring/Summer 2021 newsletter, an abbreviated version of our annual winter e-magazine. There are many exciting departmental events and initiatives happening year-round, and we want to share them with you. In this publication, you will discover new initiatives we are implementing to provide a diverse, equitable and inclusive academic environment, resources provided by the Sustainability Committee to cultivate a greener lab, and how our faculty continue our commitment to helping students achieve academic success. The newsletter will close with a recognition of our newest Carolina Chemistry graduates. The pandemic has certainly presented unprecedented challenges and complex times for the world and our chemistry community. We continue to push forward by creating new initiatives to respond to the changing environment. Your generosity helps make our
initiatives a reality, and we hope you will consider giving as we continue our mission to train the next generation of chemistry professionals. We hope this letter finds you well and in good spirits. We are thankful for your continued commitment and support to the department as we navigate the changing environment. I encourage you to read further and reach out if you have any questions or would like to learn more about departmental events and initiatives.
IN THIS ISSUE 2
DEI departmental initiatives We are continuously committed to providing an inclusive environment here at Carolina Chemistry. Read more about our new initiatives.
Faculty focus on student success Our faculty continue to focus on evaluating and developing strategies to help students achieve success in their studies.
The Sustainability Committee
The Class of 2021
Sincerely, Wei You
Department Chair email@example.com
Spring/Summer 2021 Vol. 1 Issue 1
The Sustainability Committee continues to connect with department members to provide education on best sustainability practices.
We are incredibly pleased to introduce the #uncchemistry graduates in the Class of 2021.
Lab of the Future ready for next gen learning and research We are excited to resume in-person undergraduate laboratory instruction this fall in the newly upgraded Morehead Labs, complete with a brandnew air handling system. Just as exciting is the completion of our vision for the chemistry teaching laboratory of the future. The two-year project was made possible with support from both the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the department of
chemistry. The area is designed to encourage collaboration between student teams, with large screens lining the perimeter to display data and open sight lines between octagonal tables to foster communication. These labs include modular furniture to accommodate a breadth of experiments that span multiple courses as well as hoods along the perimeter to facilitate synthesis and analysis.
Special naming opportunities are available to support these investments in the department’s future. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
ALUMNI NEWSLETTER Spring/Summer 2021 Content & Design Editor Alice Zhao, Communication Specialist Assistant Editor Meghan Ketchie Managing Co-Editors Laura Yurco Ralph House Department of Chemistry Department Chair Wei You Associate Chair for Business Administration Laura Yurco Associate Chair for Research Ralph House
Let’s connect! #uncchemistry
chem.unc.edu /UNC.Chemistry @uncchemistry @uncchemistry We’d like to hear from you! Interested in sharing an update? Send us your alumni stories at email@example.com Department of Chemistry University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus Box 3290 firstname.lastname@example.org 919-843-7100
Our continued commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion The department of chemistry is continuously committed to fostering a community with strong values in diversity, equity and inclusion. These values are incredibly important in building an inclusive environment that is in accord with our pursuit of academic excellence. We are pleased to share with you two initiatives established in the past year that will support our efforts in continuously strengthening the Carolina Chemistry community and our pursuit of academic excellence. Slayton Evans Diversity Enhancement Fund Our continued commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion finds its roots with our first Black faculty member, Slayton Evans (1974-2001). Professor Evans was an exceptional scientist, colleague and mentor throughout his 27 years in the department. He was deeply devoted to improving science education for future generations, opening doors for students of all backgrounds through his excellence in teaching, research and mentorship. As we seek to honor Professor Evans’ memory and continue his legacy of celebrating and enhancing diversity in the department, we are pleased to announce the creation of the Slayton Evans Diversity Enhancement Fund. This fund supports the initiatives and efforts of our Chemistry Diversity Committee. UNC-Chapel Hill Chemistry Education Outreach Program The department of chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill recognizes taking actionable steps is imperative to closing the equity gap in STEM. One of the initiatives developed in the past year is the UNC-Chapel Hill Chemistry Education Outreach program, also known as CEO. The program is focused on direct outreach to K-12 students to acquaint young students and educate them on exciting careers in chemistry. CEO was created to serve two primary purposes beyond facilitating and encouraging traditional outreach by the following: • Centralize departmental outreach efforts to reduce duplication and mobilize a larger, diverse team for outreach initiatives • Create a formal vehicle for proactively identifying, creating and pursuing opportunities to reach out to local K-12 students in urban and rural North Carolina CEO serves as a point of contact for external entities, a facilitator of interagency communication and collaborative partnerships and as a resource manager. CEO has already begun to form community partnerships to facilitate outreach, and we are always looking for resources to further our goal of a robust and diverse chemistry program. We are happy to engage with alumni and friends who would like to become involved with the program’s mission. If you would like to discuss how you can contribute to the program, please contact Calvin Grant (email@example.com) or Ralph House (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our outreach initiatives are supported by the Say Yes fund. If you would like to support our initiatives, click here or visit chem.unc.edu/ home/give. We thank you in advance for your generosity and support.
Our faculty’s focus on student success in a virtual semester By Alice Zhao
When the pandemic presented the need to transition to virtual classrooms, teaching professors Carribeth Bliem and Anna Curtis prioritized establishing lines of communication with their colleagues and students over several platforms.
“I think most students felt the same frustration that we did as faculty. Things had changed so abruptly and so completely. They also had to learn how to use technology and accept the limitations of that new technology,” said Bliem.
The transition to a virtual classroom presented a new normal along with unprecedented challenges to faculty and students alike. For first-year students, the hustle and bustle of move-in days, first meals at the dining hall and the decades old tradition of taking a sip from the Old Well right before their first class was suddenly unheard of. The byproduct of virtual semesters understandably left students feeling unmotivated as they learned how to adjust to a new normal. Our faculty have found effective ways to adapt to a virtual classroom and creative strategies to help students achieve success in their courses and labs.
Sustainability practices during the pandemic By Kelsey Kean, Chairperson of the Sustainability Committee
Bliem and Curtis studied and analyzed how their students responded to a virtual learning environment. Based on student needs, they adapted an active learning model, one that worked effectively in the physical classroom. The active learning model operates by having students study course materials so that they are ready to practice the material during class time. This model allows for students to actively develop problem-solving skills and master concepts in chemistry. Bliem and Curtis are equally focused on the well-being of their students. Curtis would sometimes begin her lecture courses with a feelings chart to assess her students’ emotional well-being. Together with the department’s undergraduate studies committee, they continue to re-evaluate and develop new strategies to help students achieve success in their studies. “We are here for our students. We are doing the best we can to help them learn,” said Curtis. requirements, the Sustainability Committee is piloting a face mask recycling program for the Carolina Chemistry community. The program allows the committee to find ways to recycle surgical, KN95 and N95 masks. The Say Yes fund has supported this initiative by providing recycling boxes in central locations throughout the chemistry buildings. The committee estimates this to divert thousands of disposable masks from the landfill.
The pandemic has certainly disrupted our lines of communication. Even with meetings moved The committee currently has its sights to Zoom and limited occupancy on-camThe Say Yes fund has set on piloting a departmental compus, the Sustainability Committee has supported this initiative posting program, developing a website been connecting with the department to by providing recycling to serve as a resource for sustainable improve on sustainability practices. The boxes in central practices and programs and, ultimately, committee developed educational slides locations throughout the acquiring solar panels for use across the to inform of best sustainability practices chemistry buildings. chemistry buildings. Carolina Chemistry and programs, including how to recycle is a large department and taking these gloves, plastics and local composting resources. The small steps towards reducing, reusing and recycling can slides are presented at the beginning of weekly research make a huge impact on our environment. seminars across six research divisions. In light of mask
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C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S Congratulations Class of 2021! Your determination and diligence in your studies has
CLASS OF ’21
led you to this well-earned achievement. We wish you continued success in your present and future endeavors.
Ph.D. in Chemistry
Alex Mixail Pistiolis
Sophie Rose Taylor
Katherine Isabelle Albanese
Emili Isabelle Potts
Cydney Lynn Baptiste
Kris Erik Lukas
Maggie Margaret Randall
Robert Carver Davis
Quinton James Bruch
Selene Margarita Barbosa Cardenas
Jeremiah Jackson III
Nicole Alexa Manalis
Jobel Angela Barcoma
Megan Magee Ford
Kyle Pabalan Bates
Matthew W. Glasscott
Mykaella Calderon Javier
Tk Kay Mcauley
Josh Joshua Salama
T.J. Jordan Turner
Richard Franklin Josey III
Elizabeth Santibanez Rojo
Anthony Michael Schinelli
Allison Jo Kauffman
Troy Ransom Scoggins IV
Kenny Lee Gentry
Joe Adam Kerrigan Jr
Allen Thomas Scott
Charlie David Warren
Tori Morgan Gillespie
Andrew Patrick Morrow
Katie Marie Weber
Matthew Russell Mueller
David Andrew Wollensak
Jack Wesley Lari
Quincy Kenneth Synder
Victor Anthony Yax
Francis Joseph Lauzier
Will Parker O’Briant
Danny Ihab Youssef
Drew Tucker Griggs
Cameron Michael Storch
Abigail Grace Hall
Alex Jui-An Lin
Aaron Yaechan Park
Aaron Nicholas Hamm
Conrad Jacob Hartmann
Jill Williamson Alty Rachel Ellen Bangle
Sally Elizabeth Lewis Sarah Ann Marks Nicholas Paul Ralph Onuska
Grace Bergan Merha Berihe Lauren Brown Thuy Bui
Jacob T. Pawlik
Hannah Badr Helmi Shenouda
Nate Yoshi Campbell
Taylor Samantha Teitsworth
Michael D. Turlington Brianna Morgan Vickerman
Benjamin Carry Chelsea Rae Castor Gizem Cetin Michael Wil Chang
B.A./B.S. in Chemistry
Alexis Grace Adams
Thad Houston Creech
CONTRIBUTE TO BRIGHT FUTURES IN CHEMISTRY Your gift to our “Say Yes” fund provides so many wonderful opportunities to our students and faculty. With your contribution, comes new opportunities that help shape an exciting future ahead. To contribute to a future chemist today, you may use your phone or tablet to scan the QR code above, or please visit chem.unc.edu/ give. We thank you in advance for saying “Yes” to chemistry!
Pictured: Graduate Students in the Johnson Lab. From left: Kimberly Alley, Pedro De Jesús Cruz, Danielle Sklar and Will Cassels. Learn more about the Johnson Lab and their research: https://sites.google.com/view/jsjresearchgroup/home