The Department of Chemistry at UW–Madison is a leader in the country for undergraduate education, graduate research, and teaching programs. However, with success comes hard work, and hard work can have mental health impacts.
Tough times call for tough people. One of them is Olga Riusech (Garand). Balancing her first year of graduate school, the pandemic and racial unrest throughout the country, she still took action to make change happen.
When Desiree Bates, a computational chemistry leader, AJ Boydston, a professor in the department, and Cathy Clewett, a senior instrument technologist, came up with the idea of a Chemistry Book Club that would tackle hard, but relevant topics, they had no idea of the interest that it would gauge. More than 100 people have joined.
The long-awaited, much-needed new chemistry tower, which will serve a growing population of undergraduate chemistry students, is rapidly nearing completion.
In early March, I was sitting in the Union eating stir-fry, browsing through the multitude of COVID-19 articles. I spent the next hour concerned by something strange in my bowl when I really should have been concerned by the rising number of cases.
Morgan Howe, a new addition to Sam Pazicni’s group at the UW–Madison chemistry department, began her postdoctoral fellowship with a bang! She initiated a popular online literature discussion group, filling a need for chemists across the world to connect and learn virtually.
The Benzine is a newly developed art and literary magazine published each fall and spring by a group of chemistry graduate students. The editorial team includes Philip Lampkin (Gellman), Danica Gressel (Fredrickson), Robin Morgenstern (Pazicni), Rachel Czerwinski (Goldsmith), Jairo Villalona (Buller), and Sophya Alamudun (advisor TBD, first year).
COVID-19 has universally disrupted the way humans interact with other humans and the environment. With stricter enforcement of face coverings, handwashing and physical distancing, individuals and microbes are interacting differently.
When COVID-19 first hit, many people hastily adopted work-from-home protocols. Trips outside were limited to grocery runs; suddenly, fruits and vegetables became synonymous with ramen and ready-to-eat food choices. Social lives compressed to the six inches of mobile phone screens. Facetime Fridays with steaming cups of coffee, arguably with three too many shots of espresso, became routine. Today, even with the pandemic running rampant, things are very different. Slowly people are participating in more in-person activities; however, often without a complete understanding of the risks.
Prof. Samuel Gellman and his group have been working on strategies to prevent infection by pathogenic viruses for several years. They are now using that work as a launching pad for research on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.