Chemistry-Newsletter-2018

At 57 now, I have always assumed that tags sewn into the elastic band of my underwear face the inside rear, which has long historical precedence I might add. One day, when faced with a full bladder, I discovered I had put my underwear on inside out and backwards— which leads to minor frustration and embarrassment! The reason for this is because manufacturers have begun putting a brand label on the front of their underwear, sometimes together with another tag in the back or sometimes the rear label is just printed on the fabric or is completely missing. It really is not that difficult to figure out the front and rear of men’s underwear normally, but when used to the proper alignment of the little white tag in the back, I can get it reversed. So why do they put a tag in the front now? Advertising—showing the brand name is why—even though virtually no one is ever going to see what kind of underwear I wear, and I kind of assume that’s the way it is for most other people as well. Where’s this going? Advertising is becoming increasingly important for USD and the Department of Chemistry. Just doing good things is not enough these days—you have to shout them from the rooftop, and it’s still hard to hear because everybody’s shouting. With decreasing enrollments in K–12, the preparedness of students, perhaps students less willing to invest in “harder” endeavors like chemistry, and the establishment of a new, competing medical biology major on campus, the pie is getting smaller, but we are working hard to attract new students to chemistry. This past year we brought into the department eight area high school chemistry classes to synthesize gold nanoparticles in the lab, use some of the high-tech equipment we have, make liquid nitrogen ice cream and provide them with a good lunch at the student union. We also are actively recruiting majors from general chemistry and organic courses and getting students involved in paid research opportunities as early as possible. Chemistry majors are up in our freshman and sophomore classes and again we are supporting more than 20 undergraduate students in undergraduate research this coming summer. Students receive up to $5,000 for an intensive 10 weeks of research, plus a small living allowance, and research and travel support. I want to thank all USD chemistry faculty, staff, Chemistry Club and chemistry majors that helped with all of these recruiting events this year—it would not have been possible without you. And a big thank you as well to all the department alumni who have helped support these activities throughout the years. Best regards to all, Andrew G. Sykes, Professor and Chair asykes@usd.edu From the Chair D epartment of C hemistry Annual Newsletter Summer 2018 Andy Sykes Josh Arens Chemistry Alum Becomes a Rhodes Scholar Josh Arens, a 2017 chemistry graduate from Yankton, South Dakota, won a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship this year! Only 32 awards are made in the United States, and recipients attend the University of Oxford in England for graduate studies. At Oxford, he will pursue a master’s degree in philosophy in environmental change and management. Arens is the 10th Rhodes Scholar at USD, the second for the Department of Chemistry, and the first in the last 33 years at USD. Truman Schwartz, chemistry professor at Macalester College, was the last chemistry major to receive a Rhodes Scholarship in 1956. What is even more impressive is that Arens is currently completing a Fulbright post-graduate fellowship in Catalonia, Spain, this year and is a previous winner of a Truman scholarship as well.

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