Claire Hefner ’22, a chemistry major at The College of Wooster, recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) five-year fellowship that includes three years […]
What can I do with a chemistry degree from The College of Wooster?
The access to lab facilities, early research opportunities with faculty members and small classes at The College of Wooster give chemistry majors lots of choices after graduation. Wooster is a national leader among private four-year undergraduate institutions when it comes to the number of graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. About 50 percent of our graduates go on to Ph.D. programs. Another 20 percent of graduates attend medical or dental school. Other graduates are employed as teachers or work in labs for companies such as Merck, Eli Lilly & Co., Agilent and more.
Chemistry at The College of Wooster
In addition to core courses, all students at The College of Wooster complete independent research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. This focused research project (of the student’s design) gives chemistry majors several semesters to develop research and presentation skills, culminating in a presentation to a faculty panel. Chemistry majors build professional skills for careers in the sciences, while also building critical thinking skills and expanding their perspectives through the variety of courses available at a small, private liberal arts college.
Faculty & Staff
Latest Chemistry News
College of Wooster junior Emma Schell ’23 recently received recognition from Wiki Education for her work to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of Latin American topics […]
The Buckeye Women in Science, Engineering, and Research (B-WISER), an educational partnership of The College of Wooster and the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, will […]
James West, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, biology, and chemistry at The College of Wooster, worked with eight Wooster students to publish an […]
Chemistry majors follow a curriculum guided by the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training and is comprised of courses across the major sub-disciplines of chemistry.
The major requires completion of 16 major-specific courses with room for electives and foundational courses in the liberal arts. Three semesters’ worth of work on independent study are factored into the major course of study.
A minor in chemistry requires completion of six courses:
- General Chemistry II
- Organic Chemistry I
- Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry I or Physical Chemistry II (choose one of the three)
- Three Chemistry courses at the 200-level or above
The College of Wooster is nationally recognized for its program of Independent Study, and for more than 50 years the College has required that every graduate complete a significant Independent Study project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Chemistry majors begin identifying the project that will be the subject of their Independent Study thesis early in their junior year. Seniors set aside both semesters of their senior year to work on and deliver their projects.
Search the I.S. Database
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Using Computational Methods to Study Changes in the Fundamental and Overtone NH Stretches due to Solvent Effects
Name: Sarah Mullen Major: Chemistry Minor: Mathematics Advisors: Dr. Karl Feierabend, Dr. Sarah Sobeck (second reader) Computational chemistry uses computer simulations to solve chemical […]
Name: David DiGena-Segal Major: Chemistry Advisors: Jennifer A. Faust, Rebekah E. Gray, and Paul L. Edmiston Pesticides are commonly found environmental contaminants and health […]
Synthesis and Photophysical Evaluation of Porphyrin-Natural Product Hybrids for Use in Photodynamic Therapy
Name: Holly McAnlis Major: Chemistry Advisor: Dr. Paul Bonvallet Photodynamic therapy is a cancer treatment that involves dosing a patient with a drug molecule called a photosensitizer, […]
The Fading of Intention: Photodegradation Studies of Carmine Colorants and Their Implications in Art Conservation
Name: Megan E. Zins Major: Chemistry Minor: Art History Advisors: Dr. Sarah J. Sobeck Cultural heritage objects are irreplaceable objects that have artistic, historical, and/or cultural […]
Approximately 50 percent of Wooster chemistry graduates enter Ph.D. programs in areas including chemistry, environmental science, biochemistry and epidemiology. Another 18 percent have gone on to health professional schools. Graduates in chemistry have won Fulbright Awards and have gone on to earn advanced degrees at some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities.
Lecture, endowment honor legacy of Helen Murray Free at Wooster
Megan Cooper ’95 leads a research laboratory that is part of the international COVID Human Genetic Effort
Diane Gorgas ’86 draws on Wooster experience in all facets of her career
The Helen Murray Free Endowed Lecture Series
Helen Murray Free, a 1945 College of Wooster graduate and a pioneering scientist who was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2000, was honored with the inaugural Helen Murray Free Endowed Lecture, featuring Dr. Mary Lowe Good.
The lecture series was established by Helen’s children and endowed through the Al and Helen Free Foundation. Each year, this endowed fund brings a renowned chemical scientist to campus to interact with chemistry students at a technical level and present an all-college convocation on the contributions of science to the quality of life.
Free, whose research in clinical chemistry not only revolutionized diagnostic testing in the laboratory, but also in the home, developed the “dip-and-read” glucose tests for diabetics. She was awarded seven patents for her clinical diagnostic test inventions, and also helped to develop a product for diagnosing Hepatitis ‘A’ while working for Miles Laboratories. In addition, she provided invaluable leadership in the testing of newborn infants for genetic or metabolic disorders that might lead to mental retardation.
Throughout her career, Free has been an active advocate of science education. From 1987 to 1992, she chaired the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) National Chemistry Week Task Force. In 1980, she was chosen as one of Wooster’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners; in 1992 she received an honorary degree from Wooster; and in 1993 she was elected president of the American Chemical Society.
Free has authored more than 150 professional articles, and co-authored two widely used textbooks in the field. Her accomplishments have been recognized in a number of ways, including the awarding of the ACS Garvan Medal and the Professional Achievement Award in Nuclear Medicine from the American Society for Medical Technology, as well as the establishment of the ACS Helen M. Free Public Outreach Award.
Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021
Raychelle Burks, associate professor of chemistry at American University and a popular science communicator who has appeared on TV, in podcasts, and at large genre cons such as DragonCon and GreekGirlCon
- Scientific Talk: llicit indications: colorimetric and fluorometric visualizations for forensic science at 11 a.m. in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.)
This talk will focus on her team’s use of colorimetric and fluorometric sensors or sensor arrays, paired with image analysis, to detect and/or visualize targets of forensic interest such as illicit drugs, explosives, chemical weapons, and latent prints.
- Public lecture: Monsters, Murder, and Marvel at 7:30 p.m. in Gault Recital Hall of Scheide Music Center (525 E. University St.)
This talk will explore what pop culture/fandoms teaches Burks about science, teaching, and learning. It’s a bit of a personal journey with some education and sci-comm research, science, and lots of pop culture references.
Both lectures are free and open to the public. Mask are required to be worn in all campus buildings.
Biography: After working in a crime lab, Burks returned to academia, teaching, and research. Her research team is focused on the development of colorimetric and luminescent sensor arrays for the detection of analytes of mainly forensic and national security interest.
In addition to writing a science-meets-true crime column called “Trace Analysis” for Chemistry World in 2020, she was awarded the James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public by the American Chemical Society. Committed to making STEM accessible and equitable for all, Burks is a member of local, national, and international working groups focused on social justice and STEM.
Malika Jeffries-EL, Ph.D. associate dean, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, associate professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering, Boston University
- Scientific Talk: Design and synthesis of organic electronic materials
- Public lecture: Taking the Road Less Travelled: My Journey to the Ivory Tower
Geraldine (Geri) Richmond, Presidential Chair of Science and professor of chemistry, University of Oregon
- Technical Lecture: Surf, Sink or Swim: Understanding Environmentally Important Processes at Water Surfaces
- Public Lecture: The Importance of Global Scientific Engagement
Joseph S. Francisco, President’s Distinguished Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania
- Technical Lecture: From Atmospheric Complexes to Aerosols: New Insights into Atmospheric Chemistry
- Public Lecture: How We Can Rebuild Trust in Science— And Why We Must
Bassam Z. Shakhashiri,The William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the Wisconsin Idea, Department of Chemistry; Director, Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison; President, the American Chemical Society, 2012.
- Technical Lecture: Science and Society: Our Opportunities and Responsibilities
- Public Lecture: Science Is Fun and The Joy of Learning
Madeleine Jacobs,President & CEO, Council of Scientific Society Presidents, Former Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the American Chemical Society.
- Morning Lecture: Ten Lessons of a Lifetime of Science
- Evening Lecture: The Two Cultures, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Ned Heindel, H.S. Bunn Chair Professor of Chemistry at Lehigh University and a consultant on drug development for Azevan Pharmaceuticals.
Paul Anderson, Retired Senior Vice President of chemical and physical sciences for the DuPont-Merck Pharmaceuticals Company.
Susan Solomon, Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Sam Niedbala, Professor of practice in the Chemistry Department at Lehigh University and CEO of DeTect Biosciences LLC.
Catherine Hunt, R&D Director of Innovation Sourcing and Sustainable Technologies at The Dow Chemical Company.
The Department of Chemistry has a wide array of state-of-the-art instrumentation. All of the instruments are intended for use by students in teaching labs and Senior Independent Study.
Two recent acquisitions include a high-resolution quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer and a 400-MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer. Both instruments were obtained via grants from the National Science Foundation.
Some of our instrumentation includes the following:
- High resolution Q-TOF mass spectrometer
- NMR spectrometer (400 MHz)
- LC-MS/MS QQQ mass spectrometer
- GC-mass spectrometer
- High pressure liquid chromatographs
- Isothermal titration calorimeter
- IR spectrophotometers, including ATR + microscope attachment
- UV-VIS spectrophotometers
- Time-resolved fluorescence spectrophotometer
- Atomic absorption spectrophotometer
- Schlenk lines, dry glove box, high vacuum systems
- Imaging microscopy (inverted microscopy)
- Automated flash chromatography system
- And more…