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Chemistry at Aquinas College

Chemistry: Alumni Profiles

Joan Sabourin (1966, Chemistry)

Joan Sabourin, a 1966 Aquinas Chemistry alumna, was named to the 2016 class of ACS Fellows by the American Chemical Society. The ACS Fellows Program was created by the ACS Board of Directors in December 2008 “to recognize members of ACS for outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession and the Society.

 Lindsay Armstrong (2016, Chemistry)

photo of a student  Undergraduate Research

 Studies on "Under Air" Direct Arylation
 
Advisor: 
Dr. Jonathan Fritz
 Project/Location: Summer 2014 Aquinas Mohler-Thompson Research Project, Aquinas College

 Composing an Undergraduate Laboratory on the Topic of Direct Arylation Reactions
 Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Fritz
 Project/Location: Aquinas Chemistry Capstone Research Project, Aquinas College

Current Position

Laboratory Technician at Corrosion Control Consultants in Grand Rapids

Student Comments on the Aquinas Chemistry Program

“We have a great group of faculty that invest time into each student and really want to see them succeed.”


Nina Diklich (2016, Chemistry and Mathematics)

photo of a student  Undergraduate Research

 Adsorption of BSA Protein on SiO 2  Nanoparticles in Aqueous Solution: Impact of pH on Size and Zeta Potential at the Nanoparticle-Protein Interface
 Advisor: Dr. Vicki H. Grassian
 Project/Location: Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Iowa Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute (NNI)

Computational Investigation of the Role of Phosphine Ligands in the Reactivity of Direct Arylation
Advisor: Dr. Li-Heng Chen and Dr. Jonathan Fritz
Project/Location: Aquinas Chemistry Capstone Research Project, Aquinas College

Undergraduate Internships/Positions

CO-OP/Intern with AptarGroup, Inc. from 2012 to 2016
Advisors: Reiker Canfield, Jon Werner, Amy Molloy, and David Kanter
Location: Cary, IL

Student Representative for the American Chemical Society (ACS) at the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 20 th  Conference of Parties (COP20) in 2014 and 21 st Conference of Parties (COP21) in 2015
Advisors: Dr. Keith Peterman and Dr. Gregory Foy
Locations: Paris France, Lima Peru, and Washington D.C.

Current Position

AptarGroup Inc. in Supply Chain Purchasing and Marketing

Student Comments on the Aquinas Chemistry Program

“While in the Aquinas College Chemistry Department, I constantly felt that I was simultaneous pushed to do my best, yet supported by those around me. The professors genuinely cared about my education and my wellbeing throughout my four years, and they constantly encouraged me to work harder. Aquinas also exposed me to amazing experiences outside the classroom that would not have been possible otherwise. The supportive and familiar environment of the department made me a better chemist and a better person.”


Samantha Houchlei (2016, Chemistry)

photo of a student  Undergraduate Research and Chemistry Related Positions

 Laboratory Technician
 
Supervisor: Scott VanWeezel
 Location: Autocam Automotive, Grand Rapids, MI

Constructing a Phase Diagram for a Eutectic Mixture with Differential Scanning Calorimetry: A Physical Chemistry Lab
Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen
Project/Location: Aquinas Chemistry Capstone Research Project, Aquinas College

Current Position

“I am the Child and Youth Program Coordinator for the Michigan Army National Guard. In short this means [we] put on programs (i.e. camps, science fairs, and training) for the kids of military members throughout the state. “

Student Comments on the Aquinas Chemistry Program

“The networking skills and work ethic the chemistry department has taught me has made me a better person and showed me how to be successful. The most important thing I learned from my professors is how to adapt and overcome in the event of a failure or set back. Life happens and everything may not work according to plans but being able to be flexible and reevaluate is of the utmost importance.”

Bonus Material

“My favorite event that we did through Aquinas Chemistry was the battle of the Chem Clubs. It was a great opportunity to use our chemistry knowledge and have fun with other chem majors.”


Nicholas Pierce (2016, Chemistry)

photo of a student  Undergraduate Research and Chemistry Related Positions

 Mutagenesis of a TfdA-like enzyme
 Advisor: Dr. Timothy Henshaw
 Project/Location: Summer 2014 Mohler-Thompson Research Project, Aquinas College

Generating Compound Heterozygous Mice to Study the Imprinting Regulation at the H19/Igf2 Domain
Advisor: Dr. Piroska Szabó
Project/Location: Epigenetic Research Project, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids,MI

Assistant Research Technician
Advisor: Dr. Piroska Szabó
Project/Location: Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, MI

Mutagenesis of OXA-207
Advisor: Dr. Timothy Henshaw
Project/Location: Aquinas Chemistry Capstone Research Project, Aquinas College

Current Position
Job Enthusiast

Student Comments on the Aquinas Chemistry Program

“The chemistry department teaches the skills needed to succeed in any type of position.”
“The faculty in the chemistry department support 45-minute questions during their office hours.”
“Know your movies because Dr. Henshaw will definitely talk about a movie during your time at Aquinas College.”
“The faculty are enthusiastic about research. They will support you in any research position (even if it is biology).”
“Becoming a chemistry major is one of the hardest things to do. The Aquinas College chemistry department is very supportive when taking on this challenge.”


Andrew Zahrt (2014, Chemistry and Biology)

photo of a student Undergraduate Research

 Investigating Effects of Carboxylate Ligands on the Regioselectivity of Direct Arylation Reactions by Computation
 Advisors: Dr. Li-Heng Chen and Dr. Jonathan Fritz
 Project/Location: Aquinas Chemistry Senior Research Project, Aquinas College

 Effect of Additive Structure on Regioselectivity in a Direct Arylation 
 Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Fritz
Project/Location: Summer 2013 Aquinas Mohler-Thompson Project, Aquinas College 

Current Position
Ph.D. program in chemistry at University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign in the Denmark Group.

Andy's Comments on the Aquinas Chemistry Program

“I really liked how accessible professors were, and how willing to help and engage in in-depth discussions they were. At any time in my day, if I had an idea or question about a particular topic, I could wander down the hall and have a 45 minute discussion about it with an expert in the field. I'm not certain where else I would have that kind of an opportunity. 

“My advice would be to take advantage of the opportunities that are available. Don't be passive in learning - you'll learn more outside of the classroom than you will in the classroom. Don't limit yourself to the information covered in class. There is a whole world of information out there waiting; the classroom is just where you become literate enough in the field to understand it. A small environment like Aquinas is the perfect place to create opportunities, just don't be shy and be active in your learning!”


Marissa Saladin (2014, Chemistry and Math)

photo of a student Undergraduate Research

 Conditioned Likelihoods Using Bifurcation Continuation in Inverse Modeling of Dynamical Systems 
 Location: Summer Undergrad Research Institute of Experimental Mathematics (SURIEM) at Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University

 A Structure-Based Predictive Model for the Substrate Specificity of the Tobacco Etch Virus Protease
 Program/Location: Research in Science and Engineering (RiSE) at Rutgers University

 Determination of Physical Property Trends of Alkylammonium Metal Bromide Liquid Crystals J. Undergrad. Chem. Res. 2014, 13, 26-29.
 Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen
 Project/Location: Aquinas Chemistry Senior Research Project, Aquinas College

Current Position 
Ph.D. program in chemistry at Pennsylvania State University in the Maroncelli group.

Marissa’s Comments on the Aquinas Chemistry Program
“What I loved most about the chemistry program at Aquinas College was the sense of support among its members. Chemistry can be a challenging major, but I could always turn to my professors. Because of the smaller department, they were almost always free for a quick chat or homework discussion. Additionally, they were extremely encouraging in branching outside of the department to new opportunities, such as internships and research. In some larger universities, students can get lost in a department of hundreds of students, but the chemistry professors at Aquinas worked with me individually to support me in discovering what I wanted out of my education. “


George Van Den Driessche (2013, Chemistry and Math)

photo of a student Undergraduate Research and Internships

 Development and Improvement of Direct Arylation Reaction Yields Using Various Abundant Earth Metals with Various Carboxylic Acid Ligands
 Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Fritz
 Project and Location: Aquinas Senior Research Project, Aquinas College

Formulation of Alternative Softening Technologies for Amway Fabric Softener Product Line 
Advisors: Phil Silva and Kara Smith
Location: Amway in Ada, MI

Drug Screening on Xenopus Oocytes for an Alternative Drug Treatment Pathway of Depression 
Advisor: Dr. Scott Myers and Dr. Kyle Frantz
Location: Georgia State University, BRAIN Fellowship: NeurOp Inc.

Current Position
Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University in the group of Dr. Elena Jakubikova.

George’s Comments on the Aquinas Chemistry Program
“The small class sizes really allow the professors to push their students.”

“When you begin your studies in chemistry, be prepared to work hard. There is no other way to succeed in this field.” 

“Get over your fear of the chemistry faculty and ask for help! The only reason they are terrifying is because they are pushing you to become the best scientist you can be!”