As 2006 ends and the 2007 starts it is hard not to feel upbeat with the great things that are happening in our Department. We are certainly improving and we hope for even better days ahead of us.
Dr. Moni Chauhan was decisively awarded tenure earlier in November as a result of her hard work and input since she first joined us in February 2002.
Dr. Sasan Karimi was the first chemistry faculty to deliver a Queensborough Presidential lecture on “The Art of Chemistry and the Chemistry of Art “on March 29, 2006. The event was attended by a large number of faculty and members of the outside community.
Dr. David Sarno was elected chair of the ACS-Long Island section for 2008. Drs. P. and S. Svoronos as well as Dr. Vargas will also serve in the board of that section as directors-at-large.
The resignation of Dr. John Gilligan and the ever increasing number of registered students in chemistry have provided us with the opportunity to open two new searches for full-time tenured track positions. The applicant pool has been rich with qualified chemists and we are hopeful that the new additions will enhance the quality of our professorial faculty starting the Fall of 2007. In the meantime Dr. Luis Vargas and Professor Syamala Ranganathan have gracefully agreed to serve as substitutes.
The number of students involved in research keeps on its upward trend. In 2000 the practice started in our department with one student participating at the URS (Undergraduate Research Symposium) of the ACS-NY section. On April 29, 2006 the number has escalated to 38 oral presentations (out of a total of 121) with several resulting as collaboration between the Chemistry and the Department of Biological Sciences and Geology. Thirty of them proceeded to have poster presentations at the 38th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) in Hershey, PA in June. On October 6 twenty four of them displayed their posters at the 34th Northeastern Regional Meeting (NERM) in Binghamton, NY the Alma matter of our own Dr. David Sarno. Our kids earned the accolades of the 2006 National ACS President Dr. E. Ann Nalley who personally congratulated them.
The department was awarded a $255,000 Perkins grant that will enable our faculty to have the first ever undergraduate research lab in our department, a unique achievement for a community college. Once the project is finished the bond between students and faculty will be strengthened as the research connection will have the potential of taking place daily. VWR has agreed to undertake this task that will convert S-410 into the much needed lab. The project is expected to finish by March 30. Kudos to Dr. David Sarno for keeping up with the bureaucratic complications
The faculty were very active with grants this past year. PSC-CUNY grants were awarded to Drs. Sasan Karimi, Moni Chauhan, David Sarno and Jun Shin. Dr. Sarno was also awarded a Stewart travel grant. Dr. Chauhan’s collaborative grant has already brought our department a C.H,N analyzer, a rare instrument indeed for a community college. Collaborative grants have also been awarded to Drs. Sarno and Gao.
But the greatest of all was the NSF grant that involves John Jay College and will allow several of our students to continue their studies in forensic science upon graduation. This will provide our department with about $30,000 for every one of the next five years.
Several publications bearing our faculty’s names appeared in 2006. Two of them involved Dr. Karimi and Queens College’s Dr. Karimi and bear the names of two of our graduates, raising the total of such publications to 6 since 2002. Drs. Karimi, Chauhan, Sarno and Shin also had papers published . Dr. Svoronos had a reference text by Francis and Taylor. Dr. Rutenburg collaborated with Dr. Lall-Ramnarine in publishing the lab manual for our CH-102 and CH-111 classes and in conjunction with Dr. Svoronos and Mr. Irigoyen the lab manual for CH-127.
So what’s next? The focus is in the MARM 2008 conference that will be held at Queensborough in May of that year. Accomplishing this will be a great achievement as it will be the first time ever a CUNY campus hosted such an event.
There are better days ahead of us.