About

Do your students attempt to memorize their way through organic chemistry even though you heavily emphasize mechanisms and understanding? Joel Karty believes we can keep students from the memorization trap, and has written a textbook to help solve this problem.

Joel‘s new book, Organic Chemistry: Principles and Mechanisms, does more than just emphasize mechanisms; it is organized by mechanism, so in a particular chapter, students learn reactions that proceed by similar mechanisms. This differs from a traditional functional group organization, where, in a single chapter, students are faced with reactions that can proceed by widely different mechanisms. Joel’s organization helps students focus better on reaction mechanisms and to use mechanisms as a primary learning tool.

Joel Karty, Elon University
Joel Karty earned his B.S. in chemistry at the University of Puget Sound and his Ph.D. at Stanford University. He carried out postdoctoral work with Stephen Craig at Duke University, and began teaching at Elon University in the fall of 2001. At Elon, Joel teaches primarily organic chemistry and general chemistry, and also teaches physical chemistry. In the summers, he teaches an organic chemistry preparatory course as part of the SMDEP program sponsored by the Duke University School of Medicine. His research interests include studying the contributions by resonance and inductive effects in fundamental chemical systems, and he also investigates the mechanism for pattern formation in periodic precipitation reactions. Joel is the author of The Nuts and Bolts of Organic Chemistry (2005), which has recently gone into its second edition as Get Ready for Organic Chemistry (2011).

Guest Bloggers Include:

Steve Pruett, Jefferson Community and Technical College (KY)
Steve Pruett earned his A.B. from Wabash College and his Ph.D. in chemistry and an M.A. in French from the University of Louisville. He is currently Professor of Chemistry at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, KY, where he teaches general chemistry and organic chemistry. He has also taught “Chemistry for Poets,” technical writing, elementary French, and the chemistry portion of the University of Louisville’s MCAT/DAT Training Conference. This is his first attempt at blogging.

Brad Chamberlain, Luther College
Brad Chamberlain earned his B.A. in chemistry from Gustavus Adolphus College and his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. He carried out postdoctoral work with Geoffrey Coates at Cornell University, and began teaching at Luther College in the fall of 2001. At Luther, Brad teaches primarily organic and general chemistry, as well as advanced courses in inorganic chemistry. His research interests include the synthesis of catalysts and monomers for the production of plant-based, biodegradable polymers. Brad is class-testing the Preliminary Edition of Joel Karty’s text in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013.

James Wollack, St. Catherine University
James Wollack earned his B.A. in chemistry from St. John’s University (MN) and his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota while working in the lab of Dr. Mark Distefano. He permanently began teaching at St. Catherine University in the fall of 2010. At St. Catherine, James routinely teaches organic chemistry, chemistry for the health sciences, and upper division chemical biology. James currently serves as the secretary of the Minnesota section of the American Chemical Society and chair of the Minnesota Young Chemists Committee. His research revolves around cell-penetrating peptides, green chemistry education, and developing non-natural enzyme substrates capable of copper-free click chemistry. James is class-testing the Preliminary Edition of Joel Karty’s text in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013.

Marie Melzer, Old Dominion University
Marie Melzer earned her B.S. in chemistry and B.A. in biology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Georgetown University. She carried out her postdoctoral work at the Food and Drug Administration in their Office of Food Additive Safety. She began teaching at Old Dominion University (ODU) in the fall of 2009. At Old Dominion, Marie routinely teaches general chemistry, organic chemistry, and advanced inorganic chemistry. She also teaches a course for engineering students in preparation for the FE exam. Marie is currently the faculty advisor for the American Chemical Society Student Affiliates chapter at ODU, serves on the pre-health advising committee, and is an active member of Chemists Without Boarders. Her research interests include the design, synthesis, and development of transition metal complexes using ancillary organic ligands to probe enzyme activity using biomimetic chemistry and to develop homogenous catalysts.

Rick Bunt, Middlebury College
Rick Bunt earned his B.A. in chemistry from Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Stanford University working with Barry Trost. He carried out postdoctoral work with Joanne Stubbe at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rick began teaching at Middlebury in the fall of 1998 and is currently the Burr Professor of Chemistry and the Natural Sciences. Rick teaches general and organic chemistry, advanced courses in organometallic and medicinal chemistry, and frequently a writing seminar titled “Science and Science Fiction.” His research interests involve the study of electronic effects in chiral ligand design.

Nancy E. Carpenter, University of Minnesota-Morris
Nancy E. Carpenter obtained her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Northwestern University under the guidance of Professor Anthony G.M. Barrett. After a postdoctoral appointment with Professor Larry Overman at the University of California, Irvine, she came to the University of Minnesota, Morris, on the prairies of west-central Minnesota. Her research interests have spanned a diverse range of areas, from synthetic organometallic methodology to environmental remediation of chlorinated ethylenes and exploration of biodiesel from oilseeds and algae. She has been recognized with two teaching awards at the undergraduate level and was a co-recipient of the 2012 ACS-CEI Award for Incorporating Sustainability into Chemistry Education.

Kimberley Cousins, California State University-San Bernardino
Kimberley earned her B.S. (chemistry) from Duke University and her Ph.D. (organic chemistry) at the University of Texas at Austin, supervised by Jack Gilbert. She then served as a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teaching/Research Fellow at Hendrix College with mentor Tom Goodwin. Kimberley, a professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department at CSU-San Bernardino, teaches primarily organic chemistry for biology majors/pre-health professions, and for chemistry/biochemistry majors. She has mentored more than 100 undergraduate, high school, and MS students in a variety of organic-related research areas, including green organic methodology and computational modeling of organic functional materials.

Tara Kishbaugh, Eastern Mennonite University
Tara L.S. Kishbaugh obtained her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Wheaton College and her graduate degree in organic chemistry from Dartmouth College under the mentorship of Gordon W. Gribble. During graduate school, she spent a year teaching organic chemistry at St. Michael’s College. Afterwards, she was a Dreyfus postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth campus. She then moved to the Shenandoah Valley to teach a variety of courses, including organic, general, and environmental chemistry, as well as seminars on ethics, land use, and food chemistry, at Eastern Mennonite University. She chairs the biology and chemistry departments and has started a common reading program on campus. Her research interests include chemical education projects, such as assessing non-content learning in laboratory research projects, heterocyclic chemistry (indoles and pyridines), and water quality assessments related to bacterial contamination and hydrofracking.

Laura Wysocki, Wabash College
Laura Wysocki earned her B.A. in Chemistry and the Integrated Science Program from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from University of Wisconsin–Madison with Steve Burke. After her postdoctoral work with Luke Lavis at Howard Hughes Medical Institute–Janelia Research Campus, she came to Wabash College in 2011. Laura regularly teaches Organic Chemistry I and II and Advanced Topics in Organic Chemistry, in addition to Survey of Chemistry for non-majors and Enduring Questions, a discussion-based all-college course. She also serves as the Chair of the Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee. Her research interests include the synthesis of fluorogenic dyes for use as chemical sensors or enzyme substrates and the study of the open–closed equilibrium critical in the fluorescence of xanthene dyes.

Jamie Ludwig, Elon University
Jamie Ludwig obtained her B.A. in chemistry at Illinois Wesleyan University and her PhD at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Her doctoral research was on the discovery of new biocatalyzed transformations from marine-derived bacteria. She performed postdoctoral research in the lab of Dr. Jeff Johnson at UNC-Chapel Hill working on the development of a dynamic kinetic resolution through the use of biocatalysis. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Elon University where she teaches organic chemistry. Jamie will begin an Assistant Professor position at Rider University in September. She will teach organic chemistry and biochemistry. Her research is focused on developing biocatalyzed reactions to be synthetically useful in organic synthesis.

Anne Wilson, Butler University
Anne M. Wilson earned her B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D.from the University of Utah. She did post-doctoral research for Marie Krafft at Florida State University. In the fall 1996, she started at Butler University and has been primarily teaching organic chemistry ever since. She has performed undergraduate research in organic and inorganic small molecule synthesis and food chemistry, as well as teaching pedagogies and interdisciplinary education.

Michelle Boucher, Utica College
Michelle Boucher is an Associate Professor at Utica College. She earned her B.S. in chemistry, B.A. in history, and Ph.D. in chemistry from Case Western Reserve University. She taught as a visiting professor for two years at Denison University before accepting a position at Utica College in 2005. Her research interests include the modification of silicate surfaces as reinforcement or alignment tools. Michelle is part of the pre-health advising committee and faculty advisor for Alpha Epsilon Delta. She is also active in the American Chemical Society, serving on the Undergraduate Programming Advisory Committee and the inChemistry Advisory Board and is student chapter co-advisor. Michelle has learned to embrace the challenges and freedom that being the only organic chemistry professor offers, and this is her second year teaching out of the Joel Karty’s text.

Nathan Duncan, Maryville College
Nathan Duncan is an assistant professor of chemistry at Maryville College in Maryville, TN. Prior to teaching at Maryville, he obtained his B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry at Baylor University studying the synthesis tridentate nitrogen ligands and the reaction conditions that affect the regioselectivity in the formation of nitrogen heterocycles. He did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Chemical Separations Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory studying the formation of three dimensional covalent frameworks as well the synthesis and analysis of a guanidine suppressor for use in the Caustic Side Solvent Extraction (CSSX) process for the removal of cesium from legacy nuclear waste. In addition to teaching organic chemistry, advanced organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and instrumental analysis, he teaches chemistry for non-science majors in the Maryville College Core Curriculum such as “The Chemistry of Fireworks” and “History According to the Periodic Table.”

Rita Majerle, Hamline University
Rita Majerle obtained her PhD in organic synthesis under the watchful eye of Professor Thomas R. Hoye at the University of Minnesota. After a brief postdoctoral appointment at the University of California, Irvine, she headed back east to South Dakota State University. Rising through the ranks, her research work focused on dendrimer synthesis and behavior. In 2003 she joined the faculty at Hamline University where she is currently serving a department chair. When not balancing budgets and signing forms, Rita’s research includes synthesis and methodology of bioactive materials.

Cliff Coss, Northern Arizona University
I am currently an Organic Chemistry lecturer at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. I teach first and second-semester Organic Chemistry, as well as the Advanced Organic Chemistry laboratory course required for our ACS Chemistry majors. I received my Ph.D. at the University of Arizona, where I synthesized a class of glycolipids for use in personal care, biodegradable cleaning supplies, and bioremediation. After obtaining a patent on our unique glycolipid synthesis technique, I co-founded a Tucson, AZ startup called GlycoSurf, where I served as CTO and lab technician for 1.5 years. Additionally, I helped create GREEN (a Green Chemistry organization at the University of Arizona) and a Green Chemistry educational non-profit called the Network for Early-Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers (NESSE).

Adam Azman, Butler University
Adam Azman earned his B.S. in chemistry from Xavier University in 2005 and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010. He was a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellow from 2008-2010, and a Future Faculty Fellow from 2009-2010. He has taught at Butler University since 2010 and primarily teaches organic chemistry. He is currently one of the co-faculty advisors to the Butler University Chemistry Club. He was the 2014-2015 Student Government Association Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. His research interests are centered around the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Kerri Shelton Taylor, Columbus State University (GA)
Dr. Kerri Shelton Taylor, assistant professor of Organic Chemistry at Columbus State University, obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry from The University of Akron and MS in Chemistry from The University of Kentucky. She has a broad knowledge and varied skill set in the field of synthetic medicinal chemistry and material science. Her research projects involve the synthesis and characterization of new compounds with the application of medicinal chemistry, including anti-cancer and antimicrobial agents. This is her first attempt at blogging.

Jennifer Griffith, Western Washington University
Jennifer Griffith earned her B.S. and M.S. in chemistry from Western Washington University. She earned her Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry from the University of British Columbia under the guidance of Dr. Martin Tanner. In the fall of 2014 Jennifer started teaching at Western Washington University, and she has been teaching general and organic chemistry ever since. This is Jennifer’s first year teaching organic chemistry from Joel Karty’s text.

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