Alumni Notes

The Chemistry Department is proud of its alums, and would like to give you a chance to meet some of them.

Benjamin M. Abela, Jr., M.D., 1979
Ophthalmologist, Makati Medical Center and Asian Hospital and Medical Center (Metro Manila, Philippines)

I treasure the memories of my 4 years at the Chemistry Department at Hiram. My adviser was Professor Scalzi. My other professors were Professors Andrews, Denham, and Moss. All these men I hold dear and regard with much esteem. Their influence in my life made me decide a career path in medicine, them and some personal events during that time. Biochemistry was a breeze at med school. Although I have tucked away my basic chemistry in the deep recesses of my memory banks, I aver that my Hiram College education had more than adequately prepared me for life's challenges. I certainly can't complain with a good practice load and an 8 handicap in golf (ha ha).

Being from the Philippines, most of my US travels take me to the west coast. Since graduation, my only trip to Hiram was in 2002 for the heart surgery of my father at the Cleveland Clinic. I did manage to visit Hiram that time but school had just ended and the college was like a ghost town. Never-the-less, it was nostalgic to see the campus once more. I also saw my name entrenched as a donor to the new science building and am proud to be a contributor. Kudos to the department and her wonderful achievements through out the years. I can see that for our Chemistry department, the sky's the limit!

Jason Scott 1996
CEO and Owner of Tri-iso, Inc.

Tri-iso is a U.S. West Coast distributor and sales agent of specialty chemicals. We sell chemical additives, resins and related raw materials to the following markets: Coatings (paint, ink, adhesives and sealants), Plastics (polyurethane, polyurea and thermoplastics) and Lubricants (metalworking fluids, grease and lubes).

Tri-iso is currently in a large growth cycle where I oversee the sales force and the supplier relationships.

My time at Hiram College helped in many aspects of my current day to day responsibilities. Obviously, Hiram is responsible for the ground work of my chemical dexterity but the diversity of the Hiram College campus, the professors and the other Hiram staffers allowed me the knowledge to relate with the different cultures and backgrounds of my sales group as well as my supplier and customer base.

My undergraduate research got my foot in the door at my first job, which in turn allowed me to see the many opportunities within the field of Chemistry, and for that I am deeply indebted to Dr. Scalzi, who gave me my first research project, and Dr. Fried, who took a large leap of faith allowing me (me of all people!) to be her first advisee - she took a big chance!

Kristi Huntington 1997
Sr. Technical Services Representative, Bioprocess Research and Development, Eli Lilly and Company

I obtained my chemistry degree from Hiram College in 1997 then went on to earn my M.S. degree in chemistry (biological) from The Ohio State University (1999). Following my tenure at OSU, I accepted a position with Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana providing technical support for the commercial manufacture of Humalog®, a recombinant human insulin analog product for the treatment of diabetes. My current job responsibilities at Eli Lilly and Company are within the area of Bioprocess Research and Development and include chemistry and engineering support for the pilot scale manufacture of potential early phase drugs for use in toxicology studies and clinical trials.

While at Hiram College, I was fortunate to be accepted into a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Mississippi State University during the summer between my junior and senior years. My research focused on the synthesis of organometallic compounds, specifically using rhenium and tungsten metals and an organic ligand (depe) to further investigate the crystallographic and spectroscopic properties of this particular family of complexes. This summer research coupled with the knowledge and experience gained from the chemistry courses and the emphasis on writing at Hiram College provided me with a strong technical background to succeed in graduate school as well as in my career in pharmaceutical research and development and manufacturing with Eli Lilly and Company.

Bridgette (Roth) Christopher 2002
M.D./Ph.D. Student

I graduated from Hiram in 2002 with a major in chemistry and a minor in creative writing. I had entered Hiram planning to pursue a PhD in either organic or biochemistry, but my plans changed after a summer of research at Case Western Reserve University. I studied cardiac metabolism changes during heart failure, and I found myself wanting to mix chemistry with medicine. I spent a semester at the National Institutes of Health, and I studied calcium changes in cardiac mitochondria at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. I decided that an MD/PhD degree would help me to understand the unique challenges of medical science, and I entered into Case's Medical Scientist Training Program in the fall of 2002. I am currently doing research for my PhD with Dr. Frank Brozovich in the Physiology and Biophysics department. My project studies the molecular and cellular changes involved in decreased cardiac contractility during a state of chronic low coronary artery blood flow. We are focusing on individual protein modifications and how multiple changes contribute to this disease process, which is known as myocardial hibernation. After I complete my PhD, I plan to finish medical school and then pursue a residency and fellowship that will allow me to start a lab of my own.

I found my background in chemistry at Hiram to be extremely helpful in preparing me for my future studies—the laboratory skills and teaching assistant experience I received was invaluable. I enjoyed the personal interaction with my professors, and my advisor was always looking for new opportunities for me, like the NIH research semester. Even though I changed direction in the middle of college, I knew that I already had the skills I needed to move in a variety of directions.

Dan Williams, 1970
Retired, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Kennesaw State University

Dan received his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Georgia in 1974 and went on to do post doctoral work in Environmental Chemistry with Professor James E. Schindler at UGA. He taught for two years at Baldwin Wallace College as their inaugural Strosacker Teaching Research Postdoctoral Fellow and then returned to Georgia in 1977 to teach at what was then Kennesaw Junior College in Marietta, GA. Kennesaw Junior College became Kennesaw College, a four year school in 1978, and Dan was one of the founding faculty members of the chemistry degree program which eventually received ACS approval in 1989. Both the school and the department have now grown respectively to be the third largest unit of the University System of Georgia with 21,500 students and the largest undergraduate chemistry degree program in the State of Georgia with over 500 chemistry and biochemistry majors.

He developed a junior level synthetic inorganic course that had a built-in research component aimed at making and characterizing compounds that had never been synthesized before. Over the past 25 years, over 40 new compounds have been reported in the peer reviewed literature in papers with nearly 40 student coauthors. In 2003 he was awarded a National Academy of Science Senior Research Award to investigate new ways of destroying chemical warfare agents.  He is continuing that research which is done in collaboration with scientists at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland and the University of Kentucky.  Dan served as Interim Department Chair in 2006 and then assumed the role of Associate Chair for his last year of full time teaching. He continues teaching the inorganic courses and labs at KSU on a part time basis while pursing his goal of running road races in all 159 Georgia counties.  So far, he completed 145 counties and will probably have to organize races in the remaining 14 counties left to do.  He has already run a race in every state and state capitol in the U.S.

 

Alan S. Florjancic, 1991
Senior Research Scientist, global Pharmaceutical R&D, Cancer Research Area at Abbott Laboratories (Chicago, Illinois area)

I graduated in 1991, got my M.S. from Ohio State University in synthetic organic chemistry and have been a research scientist in the pharmaceutical industry since 1994, working my way up to a senior research scientist role. I've had the luck to be on several exciting projects that have taken compounds into the clinic. I am currently working in cancer research, hoping to help discover a new generation of cancer medicines. I'd very much be interested in coming back to campus at some point over the next few years to give a talk and interact with the science majors who might be interested in the pharmaceutical industry, or could be looking for internships. Abbott has a very competitive summer program that gives college students some very good real-world experience.

I gave a seminar in the mid 90's just after I started my career here at Abbott. I was also a member of the Alumni Executive Board for a three-year term a couple of years ago.

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Alan S Florjancic
Senior Research Chemist
Global Pharmaceutical R&D
Cancer Research Area

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