NSFPenn State

2013 Workshop Participants


Anne Bentley teaches general, inorganic, and materials chemistry at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR.  In the past, she completed her undergraduate studies at Oberlin College, taught high school in Namibia as a Peace Corps volunteer, grew nanowires as a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin, and combined educational research with solar energy research as a postdoctoral fellow at Purdue University.

Karen S. Brewer has been teaching inorganic chemistry and mentoring students in research at Hamilton College since 1989 and lives very close to campus with her husband, a materials scientist, and three boys (although one is in college now). She is this summer finishing a one-year sabbatical leave after serving as Associate Dean of Students for Academics from 2008-2012. She teaches courses in Principles of Chemistry 120, Inorganic and Materials Chemistry 265, Research Methods 371, and Advanced Inorganic Chemistry 423.

Benny Chan is currently an Associate Professor at The College of New Jersey.  He received his B.A. in Chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College and his Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University under the guidance of Thomas E. Mallouk.  Afterwards, he studied actinide chemistry at Colorado State University and Los Alamos National Laboratories as a Post Doc with Peter Dorhout.  His current research interests with undergraduates include superconductivity, thermoelectrics, and crystallography.


Jeremiah Duncan is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Plymouth State University, where he teaches courses in General, Inorganic, Instrumental, and Environmental Chemistry. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Missouri at Rolla (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology) and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Princeton University. Prior to joining the Plymouth State faculty in 2009, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kee-Ree-Bahsh), was Environmental Science Policy Fellow through the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was a post-doc and lecturer at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Walter Flomer is turning the big 50 in August this year, getting married in May  and welcoming  his second grandchild. He has been teaching for over 20 years (Iowa, South Carolina, Louisiana and currently North Carolina (St. Andrews University), mostly in General Chemistry.

Cameron Gren is an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of North Alabama, which offers no graduate degree in chemistry, but does have an ACS-track chemistry major. He teaches first and second term general chemistry lectures and labs and advanced inorganic lecture and lab. His BS in chemistry is from Middle Tennessee State University and his  Ph.D.  is from Vanderbilt University in 2009 in organometallic chemistry under Dr. Timothy Hanusa. Current research interest focuses on the synthesis of novel N-heterocyclic carbenes and their electronic effect on complexes. He is also working toward the synthesis of an organic-soluble calcium hydride complex for use in common organic reductions. He is a husband and father of three, ages 6, 3, and 1.

Sophia Hayes is a solid-state NMR spectroscopist with a background in physical inorganic chemistry.  Her training was at UCSB (with Hellmut Eckert), and then postdocs at UC Berkeley/LLNL (Jeff Reimer) and in Germany at the Technical University of Dortmund (Dieter Suter).  She and her group do NMR of inorganic semiconductors, thin-film precursors of metal oxides, and high-pressure CO2 and CH4 studies of their capture, conversion, and geosequestration (for the former, to carbonates.)

Karen McFarlane Holman received her BA from Willamette University in 1990 and her PhD from UC Santa Barbara with Peter Ford in 1996 studying reactive organometallic intermediates using laser flash photolysis with time-resolved infrared detection.  She was then a postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab with Mel Klein, using EXAFS and XANES to study primarily the Oxygen-Evolving Complex in Photosystem II.  Karen is now a Professor at Willamette University and her primary research focus is on reaction mechanisms of ruthenium-based anti-cancer prodrugs and investigating Ru binding to biological targets.

Vanessa McCaffrey is an associate professor at Albion College in Michigan.  While formally trained in physical organic chemistry, her research agenda has moved firmly into the realm of physical inorganic chemistry. She will be teaching advanced inorganic chemistry in Spring 2014 and is hoping to use this workshop as a way to get ideas for her class and to create curriculum items. In her spare time, you find her either in the garden or curled up with a book.

Charles Mebi graduated from University of Nevada Reno in 2007 (Ph.D. - Inorganic Chemistry) with Dr. Brian Frost. From 2007 to 2009, he was a postdoctoral research associate working with Dr. Richard Glass at the University of Arizona. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Arkansas Tech

University, Arkansas (2009-present).

Greg Moehring has been a chemistry faculty member for 24 years and has held tenure and department chair positions at Governors State University, Texas A&M University – Kingsville, and Monmouth University (current position).  HIs research has centered around rhenium polyhydride compounds and he is currently looking at the fluxional rearrangement of certain eight-coordinate dodecahedral compounds by dynamic NMR spectroscopy.  He is  married with two sons and has  a Shetland sheepdog.

Libbie Pelter is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University Calumet. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley in organic chemistry.  At Purdue University Calumet she teaches organic and inorganic chemistry and has taught courses in nanoscale science, organometallics, and catalysis.

Amanda Reig grew up in southern California, attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, and is now an assistant professor at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA.  Her research interests include the design and characterization of small model proteins that mimic di-iron carboxylate enzymes to gain insight into how specific amino acid changes affect their chemical reactivities.  In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, cooking, playing Ultimate Frisbee, and spending time with her husband Mike and daughter Cora.

Rebecca Ricciardo is a solid state inorganic chemist with a strong interest in chemical education, particularly at the 1st and 2nd year level. At Ohio State, she teaches an upper-level inorganic chemistry lab course, large enrollment general chemistry courses for science majors and has designed and implemented research projects to be carried out in large enrollment general chemistry courses.

Sabrina Sobel earned her BA Chemistry from Pomona College in 1987, and her  Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993 studying “Vanadium complexes as structural or functional models of bioinorganic systems”. She  has  spent her  whole career at Hofstra University, starting in 1992 and has been Chair of her department for six years. She has served on the Inorganic Exam committee twice before, and is excited to participate this time around as well. She’s also served as an ACS Science Coach at local high schools. Her research interests include bioavailability of zinc, kinetic and surface investigations of aluminum corrosion, and studies of an oscillating chemical reaction. She is  passionate about teaching and mentoring undergraduates to launch them on to the next phase of their careers.


Carrie Read Spray completed graduate school at Purdue University under the supervision of Kyoung-Shin Choi.  She received her Ph.D. in 2011 and then started a two year visiting assistant professor position at Smith College.   She will be starting a tenure-track inorganic and analytical position this fall at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA.  Research interests involve inorganic, solid-state, materials, and electrochemistry for clean energy applications.  

Sarah St. Angelo is currently an assistant professor of chemistry at Dickinson College where she has taught inorganic chemistry as well as courses in thermodynamics & kinetics, analytical chemistry, general chemistry and nanochemistry. Her research with undergraduates at Dickinson has focused on the synthesis of gold, silver and copper nanoparticles and nanoplatelets with plant leaf extracts as reducing/capping agents.

Robert Topper is a Professor of Chemistry at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Arts in New York. He teaches courses in physical, analytical and inorganic chemistry to students majoring in chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering. His current research is focused on the chemical and physical properties of nanoparticles formed within aerosols and in polluted atmospheric environments.

Kathy Van Heuvelen is a bioinorganic spectroscopist.  She worked for Gary Miessler and Gary Spessard at St. Olaf College before moving to Madison, WI for graduate work with Thomas Brunold.  A postdoc with Larry Que brought her back to Minnesota, where she spent three years before moving to southern California in 2012 for a faculty position at Harvey Mudd College.


IONiC is also thrilled to be able to sponsor a few local graduate students interested in pursuing careers in academics; we hope this workshop sets them off on a good path with strong skills and mentoring relationships.  Look for good things from them in the future!

Angela Jovanovic is entering her fourth year as a graduate student in Dr. Ben Lear’s group at Penn State.  She is studying electron transfer in organic mixed valence compounds.  When she’s not in the lab, Angela enjoys taking her dog, Max, to the park where they run, swim, and play ball.

An Nguyen is a member of Professor Thomas Mallouk’s group at the Pennsylvania State University.  She received a B.S. in Chemistry from Gettysburg College in 2012.  Currently, her research is in the area of solid state chemistry, with a focus on 2D transition metal dichalcogenide for high-performance thermoelectric materials.

Megan Strayer received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2010 from Washington and Jefferson College where she helped design a 200-level analytical laboratory course based on water analysis and a food chemistry course for non-science majors.  Currently, she is a third year graduate student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at Penn State in Tom Mallouk’s group researching the bonding of catalytic metal nanoparticles to metal oxides supports.  While at Penn State, she helped design an online introductory chemistry course for non-science majors and earned a Certificate in College Teaching.

LaRico Treadwell received his B.S. Chemistry degree from The University of Mississippi in 2010 and is currently a fourth year Ph.D. student working with Professor Julia Chan. His research interests include synthesizing and characterizing magnetic intermetallics phases. After he receives his Ph.D., he plans to pursue postdoctoral work then an academic career in Chemistry.

Dimitri Vaughan grew up in Syracuse, NY (USA) and discovered his love for Chemistry as an undergraduate student at the University at Albany – SUNY. He received his BS degree in Chemistry from SUNY Albany in 2008 currently work under Prof. Raymond Schaak at Penn State University as an NSF graduate research fellow.