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New Beginnings: Chemistry Alumni Board

In 2013, a group of Chemistry Department faculty, students and alumni met to discuss reviving the department's newsletter, and an outgrowth of that effort to re-establish communications among current and future alumni was the Chemistry Alumni Board (CAB) which held its organizational meeting on Saturday, October 11, 2014.

A lot of positive energy came out of the meeting as the Board looks for ways to establish contact and communications between the UK Department of Chemistry and all of its alumni. 

The Board discussed ways to share with current students the experiences of alumni and to increase awareness of the diversity of careers available to chemists.

At the meeting, the Board also discussed some of the major challenges facing the Department of Chemistry, as well as the key features that should be incorporated into the new Academic Science Building that is currently being constructed and slated to open in Fall of 2016.

Three satellite activities involved most of the members of the Board. On Friday afternoon prior to the Board meeting, a panel discussion titled “From the Classroom to a Career” was held. The panel, with careers in college teaching (Tanea Reed), chemical industry (Hugh Huffman), patent law (Jeffrey Lomprey), and small business (Benny Johnson), was greeted by an enthusiastic standing-room-only audience of undergraduate and graduate students. Mark Meier, a faculty member and former Chair of the Department, moderated the discussion. There has already been discussion of repeating this event for the 2015 meeting.

Immediately following the CAB meeting, Professors Lori Watson, Fumie Sunahori, and Tanea Reed met with a small group of students and postdocs interested in small-college teaching. 

On Monday, following the CAB meeting, Hugh Huffman, Erin Peters, Sara Frederick from Coldstream Laboratories, and Mark Meier from the UK Chemistry faculty formed a panel for a discussion on careers in chemistry for the STEMCats, a group of about two hundred composed mostly of freshmen majoring in the STEM disciplines at UK.

With faculty, alumni and students all showing enthusiasm, there is great hope for the future of the Board and its mission of providing increased communications among its alumni, both current and future.

Members participating in the first meeting of the Chemistry Alumni Board

David Eaton, Senior Research Chemist, Gentex, Grand Rapids, MI
Benny Johnson, President and CEO, Quantum Simulations, Pittsburgh, PA
Jeff Lomprey, Partner and Intellectual Property Attorney, Foley & Lardner LLP, Madison, WI
Erin Peters, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Kentucky
Tanea Reed, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
Tony Smith, Owner, Ideal Vacuum Products, Albuquerque, NM
Fumie Sunahori, Assistant Professor, Franklin College, Franklin, IN
Lori Watson, Associate Professor, Earlham College, Richmond, IN
Brad Weedon, ‎Manager, Analytical Services, Valspar, Pittsburg, PA
Hugh Huffman, ExxonMobil, Retired, Lexington, KY (Organizing Chair of the CAB)

Members unable to attend

Susan Griffith, Physician, UK Health Service, University of Kentucky Medical Center
Kevin Harbol, Senior Group Leader, Omeros Corporation, Seattle, WA
Peter Nickias, Dow Fellow, Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI
Amy Wong, Group Leader, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM