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Letter from the Department Chair

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A letter from the Department Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry

If you are here, perhaps you have some interest in completing a major in the ESU Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. We are glad to know of your interest. We are committed to providing high quality learning opportunities for our students. May I share some highlights of our department?

Accreditations - Our program is approved by the American Chemical Society, and our B.S. Chemistry graduates can individually be certified as having met ACS professional standards. Our interdisciplinary B.S. biochemistry degree program has earned the rare distinction of being accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. We offer every student five biochemistry lecture courses and four lab courses in rotation beyond the required chemistry and biology courses.

Graduate Study after ESU - Our alumni who pursue graduate study have earned admittance and stipends, and have completed Ph.D. degrees from such highly ranked programs as Yale, Cornell, the University of Chicago, Purdue, Indiana, and many others. The Niedbala Lecture Hall is named after one of our department’s alumni, Sam Niedbala, the co-founder of both Orasure Technologies and TB Biosciences after completing his Ph.D. from Lehigh.

Professional School - Students have used our majors as a springboard to medical schools, dental schools, and most abundantly, pharmacy schools, with Dr. Loffredo advising our pre-pharmacy concentration and transfer program.

Employment - Professional employment rates are in the 90% range one year after graduation. Students completing the B.S. Secondary Education option often get multiple teaching offers. Recent B.S. alumni in chemistry and biochemistry alike are working in a variety of regional industries: vaccine and drug manufacture; perfumes, fragrances, and flavorings; cosmetic formulating; gas purification; raw materials; and high-purity biochemical reagent production, to name a few. Many of our students participate in paying internships in these same enterprises while enrolled.

Student ACS Chapter - The ESU Chemistry Club provides a mechanism for students to present lively demonstration shows for youngsters, enjoy like-minded companionship, pursue professional travel for conferences and tours, and exercise leadership roles. A wall of plaques documents the national recognition our chapter has earned year after year, most commonly under Dr. Freeman’s guidance.

Instrumentation - Our undergraduate students have hands-on access to an exceptionally modern and complete array of instrumentation. By a combination of institutional and grant support, we maintain the instruments you’ve seen on the crime-lab TV shows: FTIR, NMR, AA, GCMS, GC, HPLC, calorimeters and electrochemical apparatus and more. Dr. Kelly is a national figure in instruction in analytical devices and methods.

Instruction - Our developmental approach poses achievable goals for our students at each level of the program, so that student competence, autonomy, and communication skills progress to the professional level incrementally, and with the needed support. Freshmen initially perform measurements using dozens of small-footprint computerized instruments, typically pre-programmed for single-key operation, and write short-answer preformatted reports. Seniors work in teams to design experiments, create instrument driver sequences for hundred-thousand-dollar instruments, validate methods, and present full project reports orally, in written form, and via media. From day one, every lecture and lab instructor that guides you through these transitions will be a graduate-degreed chemist, not a student teaching assistant.

Research - Students can gain research experience working with our faculty advisors during the academic year. An example is the regional wine analysis consortium under the guidance of Drs. Gold and Kelly. Although summer research support on campus has been sporadic, faculty advisors routinely help our most committed students to identify and apply for stipend-paying national NSF-REU residential summer research programs around the country.

Part-time work - Students can earn money while deepening their understanding and improving their professional skills, either by working in the prep lab and stockroom with our technician or by tutoring.

Awards and support - Transfer students should inquire of Dr. Jones-Wilson to see if they meet the eligibility requirements for any of the dozens of scholarships awarded under a current National Science Foundation grant to study and enhance the transfer experience in chemistry and other STEM disciplines. The department also annually awards two small scholarships to top students in their sophomore or junior year.

I am so proud of our department that I am tempted to go on for another page. Instead, I invite you to contact me if you have further questions, or wish to discuss how majoring in chemistry or biochemistry at ESU might be a good fit for you. We look forward to working with you on your development as a professional scientist.

Dr. Michael P. Doherty
Chair, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
334 Hoeffner Science & Technology Center
East Stroudsburg University
(570) 422-3244
mdoherty@esu.edu