The Department was delighted to welcome several distinguished alumni back to campus within the past year.
Dr. Caroline Ribes and Dr. Al Ribes (UB PhDs in Chemistry), both employed at the Dow Chemical Company in the Netherlands, visited our department in April. Dr. and Dr. Ribes have had distinguished careers at Dow Chemical. Both are Fellows of the American Chemical Society, and Carolyn received the 2018 Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society, a national ACS award recognizing her leadership, commitment to diversity, and volunteerism. During their visit to UB, Dr. and Dr Ribes led an informal lunchtime discussion with graduate students and shared their perspectives on career planning and working in the chemical industry. We welcome such visits from our alumni! We are always eager to reconnect, and your perspectives on life after graduate school are invaluable for our students.
Dr. Luisa Whittaker-Brooks (UB PhD in Chemistry), Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah, returned to UB to present a Foster Colloquium seminar in May. Prof. Whittaker’s independent career is off to a flying start! She has won numerous awards including the Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences, the DOE Early Career Award, and the Lloyd N. Ferguson Young Scientist Award from NOBCChE. Additionally, Dr. Whittaker-Brooks has been named a Cottrell Scholar and Scialog Fellow by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and a member of the Talented 12 by Chemical and Engineering News. During her Foster seminar, Dr. Luisa Whittaker-Brooks presented her groundbreaking research on doped conducting polymers. She also reflected on her years as a graduate student in our department and on her pathway from UB to an independent career at Utah.
Dr. George Grobe III (UB MA in Chemistry) visited UB in May to present a keynote lecture at the 2019 Graduate Student Symposium. Dr. Grobe is currently vice president of research & development for vision care (contact lens and lens care) business at Bausch and Lomb. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Dr. Grobe’s keynote lecture provided perspective on the contact lens industry and particularly ongoing R&D efforts, grounded in fundamental chemistry, to maximize comfort while maintaining safety and efficacy.
Dr. Allison Campbell (UB PhD in Chemistry), Associate Laboratory Director of Earth and Biological Sciences at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and past president of the American Chemical Society, was honored in April 2019 with the College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Award. The award recognized Dr. Campbell’s lasting contributions to service, scholarship, and leadership in the discipline. During her visit, Dr. Campbell also graciously agreed to present a departmental Foster Colloquium seminar. Dr. Campbell’s talk on the history and mission of the DOE’s National Laboratories and PNNL in particular provided first-hand perspective on science in the national laboratory setting.
Dr. Toby Massa (UB BA in Chemistry), Dr. Marge Winkler (UB BS and PhD in Chemistry), Dr. Edward Kikta (UB BA and PhD in Chemistry), and Dr. Joseph Vacca (UB PhD in Chemistry), returned to UB in October and April for the semi-annual meetings of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Advisory Council. Through their generous service on the DAC, Drs. Massa, Winkler, Kikta, and Vacca are helping to shape the direction of the College. We appreciate having several voices from Chemistry on the Council!