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1980 BS Chemistry (Graduate Coursework)
My interest in science began very early. I was always interested in how things work, how they are made and how different things relate to each other. Science to me was my special thing in school. I easily excelled in most science and math classes while I found other subjects a little more difficult. I knew I would be a chemist by the time I was a freshman in high school. Fortunately for me I had a part time in the 7th grade in a girls HS helping the science teachers clean and prepare their labs for the next weeks experiments. I was well able to help my teachers out setting up and helping my peers in biology, chemistry, etc. So, I can honestly say I have been working in a laboratory since I was 12 years old and I have yet to tire of learning new things.
Most of my professional life has involved analytical chemistry. During college, I was a phlebotomist and a lab technician in a hospital. After graduation I was a forensic chemist in a police crime laboratory rising to the senior level before I left. Most of my work involved toxicology and narcotics. I left to pursue an interest in developing a micro – sensor technology for law enforcement which developed into sensor development for a very broad range of materials.
Throughout my career as a chemist I have had the responsibility and the pleasure of explaining chemistry to a wide variety of people. I have testified in court in criminal cases over 100 times, presented to large groups of people, both professional and general audiences. I have taught as a teaching assistant in college and taught law enforcement, military, and other scientists how to use the equipment I helped develop. People have told me many times I explain things and their significance well. I also appreciate that everyone does not want to be scientist, but sometimes they need to learn it to do their jobs well. Chemistry has a value that most people never felt the need to learn. I help them to see the value and how it can benefit them. My interest in science began very early. I was always interested in how things work, how they are made and how different things relate to each other. Science to me was my special thing in school. I easily excelled in most science and math… Read more
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At Boston College I was involved with undergraduate research as an elective for 3 years. I was a teaching assistant in organic chemistry during my junior and senior years and received summer research stipends for the summers prior to my sophomore, junior and senior years. All involved organic synthesis. I received the Sigma Xi Society award my senior year. I went to graduate school to obtain a MS in Chemistry. My research focused on the synthesis of many analogs of methadone. I have completed not just the introduction to organic chemistry but many advanced organic classes as well. I was also involved with special synthetic projects for the department of defense.
Post graduate work was with a pharmaceutical start up synthesizing the precursors to a drug soon to come off patent protection. I was invited to join the State Police Crime Laboratory. There I was initially in the toxicology section. Organic chemistry knowledge was useful in the analysis of drugs and poisons. Especially in the determination of drug decomposition pathways and metabolites of the parent drugs. I was assigned to the narcotics section where a strong understanding of organic chemistry was essential. I explained my work many times in court to juries and the court. I was able to successfully convey organic and analytical concepts to non-chemists. I also taught many officers in drug testing, and did many presentations to various technical and non-technical groups.
I left the State Police Crime lab after 15 years to go back into private industry. For the last 13 years I have been involved with the development of sensor technologies. For almost 10 years I worked in the area of ion mobility spectrometry. Here a organic sample is ionized into a plasma and directed toward a detector target. Along the way the analyte is exposed to various reactant chemicals forming a new molecule. The identification of these molecules formed in the plasma was always dependent upon many factors making the work very interesting. I spent three years as a director developing microcantilever sensors. This proved very successful for the determination of tri-halogenated methanes in drinking water. The work detecting explosives in vapor samples was much more difficult and is still on going. The microcantilevers are coated with a monolayer of an organic compound. This monolayer is chosen specifically for its functional groups and their ability to interact with specific functional groups on the target molecules. I presented my finding to many industry groups and non-technical groups.
Currently I am a program manager for the development of a new sensor to be used in the oil industry. It incorporates several different types of detectors each making use of a specific part of a molecule.
Throughout my career I have used organic chemistry as part of my daily work. I need to understand and be able to fully explain why certain events happen and don’t happen. I need to have available to me a full understanding of organic nomenclature, structure, reactivity, synthesis, functional groups and organo-electron theory.
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