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From the Interim Department Head

Professor Gavin Williams, Department of Chemistry Interim Head, introduces the latest updates to the on-goings of the Department.

Welcome to the latest NC State Department of Chemistry Newsletter – 2020-2021.

This year has been extraordinary for many reasons. I’d like to start this newsletter by thanking all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the department for helping us get through challenging times. You have pivoted to new modes of instruction, changed research plans, learned how to interact and connect online, helped slow the spread of COVID-19, and made sure that our department operated smoothly. I cannot thank you enough for being so creative, patient, understanding, and agile to deal with such a tumultuous year. 

Our department head for the last five years, Prof. Edmond Bowden,  retired earlier this year and is now Professor Emeritus. I’d like to thank him for his tremendous accomplishments and for assisting me with the transition to the interim department head. Prof. Bowden has served the department for 37 years with examplary dedication and leadership excellence.

Sadly, Michael Bereman passed away this year after a nearly six-year battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Michael was an inspiration to us all. A colloquium in his honor has been organized by Prof. Dave Muddiman and is scheduled for September 2022 (details to follow). We also lost Professor Emeritus Kenneth Hanck, who was a key figure in fostering the modern development of the department while serving as Department Head from 1982-1992 and again from 2004-2005.

Our department welcomes five new faculty members: Ryan Chiechi, Jun Ohata, Brian Space, Travis Varner, and Yi Xiao. This represents a phase of tremendous growth, which I hope will continue in the coming years. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to our international and national incoming Graduate students—you can learn about them at our YouTube channel. Our faculty, staff, postdoctoral researchers, graduate, and undergraduate students continue to receive numerous accolades and awards listed at ‘The Department by the Numbers 20-21’. In addition, our Innovation in Chemistry video highlights some of the history and several novel aspects of our programs and mission. Finally, our last graduation recognition event was virtual due to the pandemic—you can watch it on our YouTube channel. We look forward to hosting an in-person event later this year to celebrate our newest graduating students.

Finally, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) departmental committee have been meeting regularly. The committee is chaired by Marion Martin, Assistant Teaching Professor, and co-chaired by Reza Ghiladi, Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of Chemistry. I look forward to working with them to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for our students, staff, and faculty. 

I encourage everyone to follow our website, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as our Facebook and LinkedIn pages to learn more about our department’s activities and accolades.

Stay in touch!