Alumni Newsletter

From the Chair

Michael Crowder

Greetings Chemistry and Biochemistry Alumni and Friends! I am writing to tell you about the exciting things that are happening in the department during the second half of 2016. Please have a look at our Department website for our Fall, 2016 Department photos of faculty, staff, and graduate students.

In August, 130 new Chemistry and Biochemistry majors started at Miami. Our majors continue to do incredible things. Cameron Williams (Senior Biochemistry major) and Katherine Makaroff (BS Biochemistry 2016; now first year medical student at the University of Cincinnati) were highlighted in the August 19th edition of Miami Matters. In the Fall semester, Luis Actis (Chair of Microbiology), Andor Kiss (Microbiology), Neil Danielson, Rob McCarrick, Jason Berberich (Chemical Engineering), and I offered a Fermentation course for our majors. There were field trips to Miller Coors and MadTree Brewing, and students analyzed beer with EPR, GC, AA, and other analytical techniques. In January, fourteen students (along with Dr. Actis, Dr. McCarrick, and I) attended a 4-day course at Moonshine University in Louisville, KY. Hosted by Miami University alumnus and Flavorman Dave Dafoe (BA Zoology 1984), students and faculty did hands-on distilling and sensory exercises and were taught by experts in the field of distilled spirits. Flavorman Corp employs 4 other Miami alumni and one current Miami intern.

Miami University at Moonshine University/Flavorman

Faculty members continue to win prestigious awards for teaching, research, and service (for more details, see Faculty and Staff News). Rick Page received an NSF CAREER award (highlighted in Miami Matters), and he was named as the Robert H. and Nancy J. Blayney Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Ellen Yezierski was named as an ACS Fellow. Ellen Yezierski was selected as a member of the 2016 class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society.

After our June, 2016 newsletter, we heard from many alumni, and it is wonderful to hear about what they are doing (for more details, see Alumni News). Several alumni visited us in the Fall to speak with our new majors, as part of our CHM147 Freshman seminar course. Jami Bennett (BS Chemistry and Mathematics, 2014) currently is employed at MilliporeSigma and talked to the class about working in industry. Dr. Willie Steinecker (BS Chemistry 2001), founder and CTO of VGC Chromatography, talked to the class about using their degrees and being entrepreneurs. Kala Levine (BS Biochemistry 2009) is currently in medical school at the University of Louisville talked to students about majors going on to medical school. Ben Sandlin (BS Chemistry 2016) is currently a law student at the University of Cincinnati, and he talked about legal careers with a chemistry/biochemistry major. Please continue to write and let us know how you are doing. Many of our alumni are generous supporters of our programs and students, and they are listed on our Donors page.

If you are in Oxford during 2017, please stop by and say hello. We would love to give you a tour of the building and to see you. Please send us an update of what is going on in your lives; you can email me at If you know any alumni, please forward this newsletter to them or ask them to contact us – we would be delighted to hear from them. We have a department LinkedIn site. If you haven’t already, please join the group.

We hope that you are having a great 2017!

Michael Crowder
Professor and Chair