Monday, September 24, 2012

Science on Ice: Photographing Polar Expeditions 4 pm RNS 410

How does a scientist tell a compelling story?  How can you tell your own compelling story?  Do you wonder why there is such a disconnect between science and society?

This afternoon, join the Biology and Environmental Studies Departments for an interdisciplinary seminar by Christopher Linder.  Chris is an awarding winning photographer/digital multi-media artist and oceanographer whose work communicates science from the lab to the field...from the Congo to Siberia.  Come discover ways to do great storytelling in a multimedia, digital age.

Chris Linder strives to bring the public into conversation with scientists and about science through the use of photography and multimedia.  After earning a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in oceanography, he spent three years in Spain working as a US Navy meteorology officer and cultivating his photography skills.  He then returned to Woods Hole, where his passions for science and photography came together.  Since 2002, he has photographed over thirty science expeditions, including sixteen to the polar regions.  His images have appeared in museums, books, and magazines, including Geo, Outdoor Photographer, Smithsonian, and Wired.  His solo exhibit titled Exploring the Arctic Seafloor debuted at the Field Museum and traveled to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the MIT Museum. He is the author of Science on Ice: Four Polar Expeditions (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and The Photographer’s Guide to Cape Cod and the Islands (Countryman Press, 2007). He is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

See Chris' work at:
Art for Conservation
Science on Ice
International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP)
Facebook page

Saturday, September 22, 2012

SOCS Does it again!

The St. Olaf Chemistry Society (SCOS) once again upheld the annual tradition of preparing homemade ice cream using liquid nitrogen.  This ever popular event attracted a crowd of students and faculty to Regents Hall on Friday afternoon.  For those interested in joining SOCS, who sponsor chemistry related social events on campus and community outreach activities for schools, can contact any of the chemistry faculty for more information.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer Research Seminar Extravaganza!

Summer Research Seminar Extravaganza
Thursday Sept. 20th
Black Ballroom

Learn about the experiences of summer research students, earn up to two (yes two!) seminar credits and enjoy a meal in the company of fellow students and chemistry faculty.  All years, majors, non-majors, friends and family are welcome to join us at this event.  Come for all, come for some, pass the word.


Greta Bauer "Vying for position: Identifying proteins whose localization to lipid droplets is altered by the expression of perilipin 2." 

Andrew Rudd “Lipid Droplets: Understanding How the Body Stores Excess Fat”

Allison Brandt "Freshwater Algae as a Source for Biofuel." 


Following the initial talks we will go to Stav and bring our caf trays back to the Black Ballroom to share a meal together.


Sean Dai " Exploring the Space of Specific RNA Binding Sequence of PUF Domain "

Ben Arbeiter “Determination of Dipolar Couplings for Di-Substituted Ethanes in Lyotropic Solution for Use in Observing Dihedral Angles!”

Monday, September 17, 2012

Summer Research Opportunity

We invite you to apply for our NIH/NCI-funded (5 R25CA023944-29) Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program <>. The program offers a unique opportunity for pre-doctoral students preparing for careers in the biomedical sciences, medicine, and pharmacy to gain biomedical and oncology research experience. Students participate in basic or clinical oncology research, research and clinical conferences, and a core lecture series designed specifically for them. All participants make a PowerPoint presentation on their research project and submit a report on their research project written in the style of a journal in which their faculty mentor publishes.

A primary goal of the POE program is to encourage students to pursue a career in cancer research. Thus, we are particularly interested in highly qualified students with a serious career interest in cancer research, either as a clinical scientist or laboratory-based research scientist.

The POE 2012 class average undergraduate GPA was 3.83. In 2012, 69 students from 58 schools in 26 states and the District of Columbia were selected from 700 applicants. POEs must be United States citizens, non-citizen nationals, or possess a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States (required by the funding agency). All must have completed at least their college sophomore year by the time they participate. Prior research experience is required for all applicants. Medical students spend a minimum of 9 weeks in the program. The minimum tenure requirement for all others is 11 weeks (10 weeks for returning students). All POE applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.40 (on a 4.0 scale) in math and science (biology,  chemistry, and physics) and at least a 3.40 overall. The remuneration is $4,000. Fully furnished group housing adjacent to our campus is provided at no cost for non- local students.

The POE home page <> contains links to the program application, which must be submitted online. The deadline for receipt of all 2013 application materials is February 1, 2013. Early application is highly recommended.  Letters of recommendation sent as PDF attachments to email are requested. Members of under-represented ethnic minority groups and women are particularly encouraged to apply, since one of our major long-term program goals is to increase the diversity of persons engaged in oncology research and practice. Our NIH/NCI-funded (2 P30CA021765-34S1) Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) grant provides remuneration for additional undergraduate under-represented minority POE Program participants.
Thank you for your time!

Suzanne Gronemeyer, PhD
Director, Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program
Associate Director, Academic Programs
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105-3678

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Internship with US EPA Green Chemistry Program - January 2013

The United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC has openings for up to two college student interns to join its Green Chemistry Program during the month of January.  The position is volunteer, not paid, but offers a unique opportunity for training in green chemistry.  

St. Olaf Chemistry Majors have been selected for this internship during three of the last four years!  The staff love working with Oles. Often students find housing with St. Olaf alumni living in the area and commute to the EPA offices by public transit.

This year, the Green Chemistry Program staff have two projects in mind. For the past 17 years, EPA’s Green Chemistry Program has collected nominations for Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The nominations are 8-page descriptions of cutting-edge green chemistry technologies.

(1)   This fall, the program is starting a new project to make some of the wealth of information we have collected over the years available to other parts of EPA, other Federal Agencies, and possibly state programs. As part of this project, we will develop outreach materials targeted to specific concerns of the outside groups, for example, technologies related to smog for EPA’s Office of Air or to biofuels for the Department of Energy. We have a database that can help us identify the nominations related to specific areas. We would like interns help us by finding the information related to the interest of an outside group(s) in Challenge nominations and writing a short description that connects the technology to the interests of the outside group(s). These descriptions will become part of communication materials to help us reach out to other organizations.

(2)   Our website categorizes Challenge winners into "winners by industry"  and "winners by technologyFor each list, each winner is listed in at least one category (or more, if appropriate). Each listing for a winner has a sentence fragment that describes the technology as it relates to the category. A possible intern project for January 2013 is to help EPA expand these lists to include all nominations EPA received for the Challenge 1996-2012, approximately 700 unique technologies. We expect to be starting this project in the fall and continuing it through the academic year, at least, with the help of some organic chemistry students at Gordon College and EPA interns. This project would provide interns with a broad exposure to green chemistry as well as technical writing experience, as students would work closely with EPA staff to categorize nominations and write the descriptions that EPA will put on its website.

Because the work is highly technical, interns need to have a strong science background, including at least one year of organic chemistry.  For general information about the program and summaries of previous nominations, visit  If you have questions or would like to be considered for an internship, please send email to 

The position is a volunteer one, but Rich Engler and Carol Farris, the senior PhD chemists who work in EPA’s Green Chemistry Program, have worked with many interns previously and can provide educational support. Rich is currently teaching an online course in green chemistry through the University of California, Berkeley.

·         Sophomore, Junior, or Senior with strong academic record in science.
·         At least one year of organic chemistry; majors might include chemistry, biochemistry, biology, pre-med, but we will consider students in other majors.
·         Strong analytical abilities, ability to extend knowledge and skills to a very broad range of cutting-edge technologies related to chemistry.
·         Evidence of effectiveness working independently; demonstrated self-starter.

Other Useful skills:
·         Ability to learn quickly
·         Strong written and verbal communication skills
·         Ability to interact well with people
·         Understanding of and respect for diversity

This is an unpaid internship. 

Application Materials (apply by email to
Cover letter including a (1) statement of interest in this internship and (2) the dates you would be available.
Transcript listing science courses and grades (does not have to be official)
Contact information (phone and email) for 2-3 references

Application Deadline and Process 
EPA is making this opportunity available to college students who are available during January (i.e., students at schools with J-terms, interim January terms, etc.).  We have two openings and will consider applicants as we receive them.  Students will get the most from the internship if they are at EPA for at least four weeks between January 2 and January 31.  We will consider internships with different start and end dates, but internships must be over three weeks.

Deadline:  As appropriate for January term applications at your institution.  The Program may make an “early decision” and offer positions to exceptionally qualified candidates prior to the deadline.

Please send email to  At St. Olaf, Paul Jackson (chemistry) and Sandy Malecha (Piper Center) can answer your questions too!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chemistry Students! Welcome Back to Campus!

September is upon us and the Chemistry Department is fired up and ready to go.  We had a great summer that included lots of research, summer school classes/labs and travel.  Here are the latest reports in absolutely no particular order:

Prof. Hanson started his term as department chair and traveled to the North Shore;
Prof. Walczak taught Analytical Chemistry in the first summer term and now heads off for a much-deserved sabbatical leave;
Prof. Pearson returned to summer term organic after a year away;
Prof. Gittins taught summer labs in June and then departed for his new position as a clinical professor at the University of St. Thomas;
Prof. Terrell (biochemistry specialty) joined the department fresh from a Ph. D. earned at Univ. Texas-Austin and stepped right onto the summer 254 lab program;
Prof. Klein led a summer research group and relocated to a new tenure-track position at UW-LaCrosse;
Prof. Jackson returned from Australia, and will dive back into Analytical Chem and continue as Chair of the Environmental Studies department;
Prof. Chojnacki departed for a new position as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas;
Prof. Beussman, after a research-filled summer, returns for another year as the department's Associate Chair of Curriculum;
Prof. Muth led about 47 different research projects this summer (well, maybe I exaggerate a bit) and takes the reins of the CH/BI program this fall;
Prof. Listenberger started the summer traveling and ended the summer with an active research group;
Prof. Abdella broke no bones this summer...and was kept busy with the Chem 121 lab manual, the introductory textbook, and an exotic vacation to southern MN/northern IA;
Prof. Schwinefus led a busy summer research effort and looks forward to a fall full of physical chemistry;
Prof. Marlier led an exciting research effort, developed or re-wrote several level one labs, and finally relaxed (phew!) in Seattle;
Prof. Kalyani led a busy research crew and returns to the Chem 247 classroom and 253 lab this fall;
Prof. Roberts returns to us after a summer away and will teach Chem 121 for a change of pace;
R. Gibbons (biochemistry graduate student, Mayo Graduate School) joins the department to teach a Chem 121 lab and a Chem 125 lab;
Prof. Miessler re-enters the department milieu to rest up after a nose-to-the-grindstone sabbatical leave (edit! edit! edit!);
Prof. Fogarty (physical biochemistry specialty) began job hunting right when we decided we needed another faculty member and the rest, as they say, is history.