Chemistry

Major: Chemistry
Minor: 
Chemistry
Related Minor: 
Physics
Program Director:
 Glenda K. FergusonProfessor of Chemistry

The chemistry major encourages students to achieve a sound understanding of the fundamental concepts of molecular science and prepares students for careers in industry, technology, and teaching, as well as for graduate study in chemistry and the health sciences. Many biology majors find that they can obtain a second major in chemistry by taking several additional chemistry/math courses beyond those required for the biology degree. Physics and environmental science are offered as minors at Wesleyan.

Concentrations
Students majoring in chemistry at Wesleyan often choose to pursue one of two concentration areas: a professional/graduate school track or a pre-professional health track.  Postgraduate opportunities for women holding a degree in chemistry are excellent.  The job market for chemists is at an all time high and our graduates have chosen a wide range of postgraduate opportunities to pursue their passion for this field. All departmental faculty are engaged in vigorous research programs, and welcome the opportunity to have students work with them.  Research experience helps increase our graduates' career opportunities. For information about specific courses offered, please see our Academic Catalogue. 

Facilities
Students can expect to gain experience actually using state-of-the-art scientific equipment. Latest acquisitions include an UNIX workstation, gas chromatograph, high-performance liquid chromatograph, a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, and several lasers. Laboratory explorations are at the heart of the physical science experience at Wesleyan College. Our labs are spacious, modern and well-equipped.

The Munroe Science Center, a dynamic new campus centerpiece, opened in August 2007. The new state-of-the-art science facility will serve an increasing number of Wesleyan students enrolled and majoring in one or more fields of science while also addressing the great need throughout our state and nation for women who are skilled in medicine, scientific research, computer technology, and mathematics. Through its eleven teaching laboratories and nine research laboratories, the new facility encourages faculty/student collaboration on research projects, contains interactive laboratories for specific experimentation, and offers individualized instruction in an environmentally efficient and safe setting.

State-of-the-art laboratories include cell biology, ecology, physiology, immunology, and instrumental analysis labs as well as general biology, physics, and chemistry labs. While teaching laboratories serve as classrooms, a small seminar room and two technologically advanced classrooms also are used for instruction. Among its many specialty science spaces, the 42,000-square-foot facility includes an astronomy observation deck, a greenhouse, a vivarium, and a community learning center.

Equipment
During the last few years we have obtained some exciting new laboratory equipment. Most recently, a grant from NASA enabled us to purchase a state-of-the-art atomic absorption spectrometer equipped with a graphite furnace. In addition, a recent grant from the Pittsburgh Conference led to our acquisition of a computer-driven gradient elution HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) system. Our other instrumentation includes gas chromatographs and UV-VIS spectrometers, as well as a fluorimeter and an FT-IR spectrometer. This equipment, combined with cutting edge computer facilities, has been incorporated into our courses and is used in student-faculty research projects. 

Field Study
Many internships are available to chemistry and physics students in the local community. Recent sponsors include the Medical Center of Central Georgia, Coliseum Northside Hospital, Piedmont Sports Medicine Clinic, Mercer Medical School, Georgia Extension Service, Environmental Health Labs, J. M. Huber Corporation, Georgia Crime Lab, and the Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences.

Scholarships and Awards
  • Munroe Scholars Program. Provides substantial financial support for outstanding students majoring in science and math.
  • Chemical Rubber Company Outstanding First Year Student Award.
  • Leslie Quillian Scholarship. For a rising junior or senior Georgia resident.
  • Kaolin Chemistry Scholarship.
Special Opportunities
Students are encouraged and welcome to participate with the faculty in their respective research programs. Many past students have had the opportunity to present results of their research at American Chemical Society meetings held in New Orleans and Memphis.

Outstanding rising seniors majoring in chemistry may be invited to participate in the honors program. If the student accepts, she, in consultation with her adviser, will design a special program and research project for her senior year. A student who completes the proposed plan will then graduate with honors in chemistry.

Post-graduate Outcomes
Graduates from Wesleyan with a major in chemistry are currently studying at the graduate level in science related areas, working in government and industry, and teaching high school or college science. Equipped with a strong liberal arts background, our graduates combine a chemistry foundation with other unexpected academic disciplines and succeed in a wide array of professional pursuits. Of the Wesleyan chemistry majors who graduated in the past five years, eighteen percent secured work in a field related to their undergraduate degree while eighty-two percent pursued graduate or professional school.

You’ll find recent Wesleyan graduates pursuing post baccalaureate degrees related to the field of chemistry at countless prestigious institutions across the world including Washington University, Clemson University, The University of Texas (Houston) Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M, The University of Georgia, Northwestern University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Duke University School of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia Dental School, University of California Veterinary School, University of Georgia Veterinary School, and the University of the West Indies Veterinary School.

Ihunanya Mbata, Class of 2006, built upon the research of former classmates with great success and is now using her double major in chemistry and biology in the post-baccalaureate program at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Her classmates and other recent graduates are also pursuing exciting careers in chemistry.  One classmate is succeeding in a biomedical sciences Ph.D. program at The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, while another chose a graduate degree program in chemistry at Florida State University. Others graduates have found their knowledge of chemistry to be an excellent foundation for postgraduate work in the fields of dentistry, pharmacy, and pharmaceutical scientific research.  Anne-Kathrin Witt, Class of 2007, believes she can make the greatest contribution in the areas of pharmaceutical research and development. Equipped with a double major in chemistry and economics, she is now working toward a doctorate at the International Max Planck Research School in Munich, Germany.

Faculty

Glenda FergusaGlenda K. Ferguson Professor of Chemistry and Munroe Professor of Math and Science. B.S. (Chemistry and Biology) Kentucky Wesleyan College 1987; Ph.D. (Chemistry) University of Georgia 1993. I conduct pharmaceutical analysis with the use of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), primarily developing separation methods and determining relative concentrations of multi-component formulations. Current projects include analysis of pain medications as well as drugs used in the treatment of psychological disorders. MSC 212 gferguson@wesleyancollege.edu

Keith L. Peterson Professor of Chemistry. B.S. (Chemistry) Arizona State University 1976; Ph.D. (Physical Chemistry) Michigan State University 1981. I am interested in applying artificial neural networks to chemical data sets in general, and in determining quantitative structure-activity relationships in particular. MSC 208.kpeterson@wesleyancollege.edu