2017 Workshop Participants

Thomas Brown teaches general, inorganic, and organometallic chemistry at the State University of New York at Oswego. He received a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in French from the University of California, Davis. Tom continued his chemistry career by pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Nevada, Reno where his doctoral work focused on the investigation of metallophilic interactions between closed shell metals. At Oswego, he and his students currently investigate the photoemissive properties of copper(I) organometallic compounds.

Maria Carroll is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Providence College in Providence, RI. She teaches general and inorganic chemistry. She completed her undergraduate studies at Drew University, where she conducted research using computational methods to probe the role of metal ions in phosphodiester hydrolysis. She then moved to the University of Illinois, where she completed her PhD with Thomas Rauchfuss, working on the synthesis of small molecule mimics of hydrogenase enzyme active sites. She then completed postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania with Dan Mindiola, where she studied the synthesis and reactivity of titanium nitrides. After a year as a visiting professor at Franklin and Marshall College, she started her position at Providence College last fall. At Providence College, she works with undergraduate researchers, and the research is focused on small molecule activation and the role of redox active ligands in catalytic reactions.  

Nicole Crowder is an associate professor at the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA). Nicole did her undergraduate work at Sweet Briar College and earned her Ph.D. at Princeton University. After a one year visiting position at Bucknell University, Nicole came back home to Virginia with the position at UMW, where she teaches General Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and occasionally Senior Seminar. She has an active research program with her undergrads working on tethering transition metal catalysts to metal oxide surfaces.

Bill Dougherty is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA. His teaching responsibilities include general chemistry, advanced inorganic chemistry, quantitative analysis and a special topics course in organometallic chemistry. He completed his undergraduate studies at Ursinus College in 2001 working with Dr. Andrew Price on the synthesis and characterization of ruthenium-containing metallowires. He then moved to the University of Delaware as a PhD candidate where he synthesized a series of inorganic model complexes for the bimetallic enzyme acetyl coenzyme A synthase (ACS) working with Dr. Charles Riordan. In 2007, he accepted a non-traditional postdoctoral position at Villanova University working with Dr. Scott Kassel. His responsibilities at Villanova included undergraduate and graduate teaching, independent research and management of the small molecule X-ray facility. He started his first professional position at Susquehanna University in 2013 where his undergraduate research program focuses on the affect structural environment has on the electrochemical properties of coordination compounds containing first-row transition metals.

Emma Downs is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, MA, teaching general and inorganic chemistry. She got her bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and English from University of Massachusetts Amherst before going to the University of Oregon for her Ph.D. In graduate school she worked under David Tyler developing catalysts for a greener synthesis of methyl methacrylate (the monomer for Plexiglas). She was then a visiting professor at Centre College in Danville, KY before starting at Fitchburg State in Fall 2015. Her current research focuses on silver nanoparticles as catalysts and in commercial products. 

Gary Guillet teaches general and inorganic chemistry at Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. He completed his undergraduate and graduate at the University of Florida with a short time in between teaching High School in Tampa, FL. He made lanthanide/actinide extractants as a graduate student and synthesized macrobicyclic ligands with the goal of making multi-metallic complexes of third row transition metals as a post-doc.


Tanya Gupta teaches general, inorganic, advanced inorganic chemistry, and Cheminformatics at South Dakota State University. She completed her doctoral studies from Iowa State University in chemical education. She has also done post-doctoral research from Grand Valley State University on science-teacher professional development through Target-Inquiry Program. At SDSU her research efforts in the area of Chemical Education are focused on Inquiry-based student-centered instruction through Simulations in Chemistry, Game-based Learning and, development and implementation of guided-inquiry based Curriculum materials for lecture and laboratory. 

Rebecca M. Jones earned a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. She is a term Associate Professor at George Mason University in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the STEM Accelerator. She regularly teaches general chemistry, inorganic, bioinorganic, and senior seminar. Her research interests include improving STEM education, gender bias, and student development related to undergraduate research experiences. She is an active member of the American Chemical Society and an elected chemistry councilor on the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Chi Nguyen teaches general and inorganic chemistry at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. Chi graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1997. She subsequently earned a master of science degree in management from University of Maryland University College in 2003; and master of science and doctoral degrees in chemistry from University of California Santa Barbara in 2005 and 2016, respectively. Her area of research is in synthetic inorganic chemistry for the development of novel materials with application in the biological sciences. 

Catherine McCusker is an Assistant Professor at East Tennessee State University where she teaches descriptive, advanced undergraduate, and masters level inorganic chemistry. She earned her BS degree from Roger Williams University, and did undergraduate research investigating bridged ruthenium dimers. She went on to earn her PhD from Michigan State University, working under Jim McCusker using infrared spectroscopy to study the relaxation dynamics of ruthenium polypyridyl complexes. Her postdoc position, in the group of Phil Castellano, involved developing new copper based photosensitizers for solar fuels chemistry and photochemical upconversion applications. Catherine started her faculty position at East Tennessee State University in the fall of 2016, and is currently working to design chromium and zinc based photosensitizers for solar fuels photochemistry.   

Brandon QuillianBrandon Quillian teaches organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, polymer chemistry and fermentation chemistry at Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. Brandon received his BS in chemistry from Armstrong Atlantic State University (Savannah, GA) and his PhD from The University of Georgia (Athens, GA), where he developed ligands and methods to facilitate main group metal-metal bonding. He completed his post-doctoral studies at the University of Virginia, developing transition metal, C-H activation, olefin hydroarylation catalyst. Dr. Quillian’s research now examines anionic oxygen donor ligands as a means to stabilize low-coordinate transition metal intermediates that are generated in organometallic catalytic cycles.

Nicholas Piro teaches general and inorganic chemistry at Albright College in Reading, PA. He was undergraduate at Caltech before obtaining his PhD from MIT in 2009 after studying the chemistry of niobium complexes for the generation of reactive phosphorus intermediates. After a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley and a short stint at the University of Pennsylvania, Nick held a teaching and research position at Villanova University for three years, where he also ran the X-ray Diffraction Facility. Nick started at Albright College in Fall 2016 and is currently studying chelating guanidine ligands on first-row metal ions.   

Rob Scarrow is Professor of Chemistry at Haverford College, located near Philadelphia. Rob graduated from Oberlin College and earned his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from University of California, Berkeley. Rob’s research is in the areas of inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry, with an emphasis on understanding small molecule (i.e. ligand) activation by transition metal ions; the research is carried out in collaboration with a team of Haverford students. Rob teaches a large introductory course (Chemical Structure and Bonding), an integrative advanced chemistry lab course, and seminar courses in bioinorganic and (occasionally) environmental chemistry.  

Janet Schrenk teaches general chemistry and advanced inorganic chemistry at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. She completed her undergraduate education at Carleton College and received her PhD from the University of Minnesota where she studied+ the mechanism of the photochemical arene release of iron and ruthenium cpM(arene)+ complexes with Professor Kent Mann. Her post-doctoral research at the Smithsonian Institution involved technical analysis of Benin Kingdom brass. Her interest in artist’s materials led to an NSF grant to develop a course for non-science majors in the chemistry of art while at the University of the South. She has also taught at MIT and the University of Delaware.

Brian Smith is an assistant professor at Bucknell University, teaching general, inorganic, and materials chemistry. Prior to this, Brian did his undergraduate studies at Georgetown University and then volunteer taught high school in Philadelphia before obtaining his PhD from Stanford studying functionalized porous silicas for catalysis. His postdoctoral work at Cornell focused on growth mechanisms of covalent organic frameworks. Currently, the Smith group researches new materials for water purification and controlling pharmaceutical polymorphism.

Chantal Stieber

S. Chantal E. Stieber is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, CA. She teaches general, advanced inorganic chemistry, computational inorganic chemistry and metals in biology. She received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry with a minor in Chinese from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and conducted undergraduate biochemistry research at the Technical University in Berlin, Germany (with Roderich Süssmuth) and materials research at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (with Timothy Bays). The following year, she taught English at 西北工业大学, the Xi'an Polytechnic University in China before beginning graduate school. For graduate work, she joined the laboratories of Paul Chirik and Serena DeBeer to study electronic structures of iron catalysts at Cornell University (M.S.) and moved with the Chirik lab to Princeton University (Ph.D). Her postdoctoral studies were conducted at BASF in Germany to make acrylate from CO2 and ethylene (with Michael Limbach) and at Los Alamos National Laboratory studying actinide covalency (with Stosh Kozimor). 

Roxy Swails currently teaches general, organic, and catalysis & green chemistry at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. Roxy completed her undergraduate studies in chemistry at George Fox University followed by her Ph.D. in organometallic chemistry at University of Florida. She studied carbon dioxide reduction as a postdoc at UNC Chapel Hill and has taught at Mercer University and Shorter University in Georgia. 


Eric Villa has been at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska since 2013 and teaches General Chemistry I & II and Inorganic Chemistry. Eric completed his undergraduate degree at Augustana University, his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry with a focus on aqueous solution reaction dynamics of polyoxometalate ions at the University of California, Davis and then was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Notre Dame working on the solid-state structures of radioactive materials. Currently, undergraduate researchers in Eric’s lab focus on lanthanide extended structure chemistry and simple reactions of small polyoxometalate ions.

Meng Zhou was born in Chengdu, China. He got his BS from Purdue University in 2008. With Robert Crabtree at Yale University (Ph.D.) and later with Alan Goldman at Rutgers University (Postdoc), he studied organometallic C-H functionalization. He then studied cobalt oxide nanoparticles, with Richard Finke at Colorado State University (Postdoc). In 2016 he joined Lawrence Tech as an assistant professor of inorganic chemistry. He teaches Nanomaterials (BME/CHM/EME 4023), Inorganic Chemistry and University Chemistry (CHM 1213/1221). His research focuses on catalysis by inorganic nanoparticles, and powder X-ray diffraction. He enjoys music and received a certificate from Berklee College of Music.