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Welcome to the WCU Department of Chemistry

Click here to watch a welcome to our department from our Chair, Professor Mahrukh Azam.

150 Most Influential Women of West Chester University

Melissa HeadhsotCongratulations to Dr. Melissa Cichowicz, who has been honored at one of WCU's 150 Most Influential Women for her numerous contributions to our Department, the University and the field of chemistry. Dr. Cichowicz came to WCU in 1986 and was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 1992. She has served the University in a variety of roles including: Director of Sponsored Research, Associate Dean - College of Arts & Sciences, Pre-Medical Program Director, Chemistry Department Chair and Assistant Department Chair. She served as the founding faculty advisor to Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, Alpha Epsilon chapter, and advisor to other groups such as Women in Science, Pre-Medical Student Association and the Equestrian Club. Dr. Cichowicz has served the chemical community for over 30 years as an elected member of the Board of Directors, Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society, including a 3-year term as Chairman of the Board. She has also served as a National Councilor with appointments to CEPA (Committee for Economic & Professional Affairs) and MAC (Membership Activities Committee), and is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists. She has won both Meritorious and Distinguished Service awards from the Philadelphia Section ACS, as well as “National Advisor of the Year” from Phi Sigma Pi and WCU’s “Outstanding Faculty/Administrator of the Year” and in 2006 was selected for WCU’s “Legacy of Leadership” class. She has engaged in research with numerous students on projects related to organic synthesis of natural products, or development of novel synthetic methodology, and has over 30 papers and presentations on those results at regional and national conferences. 

Those associated with the department over the years will remember Dr. Helen Reid, who passed in March 2020 and was also recognized as one WCU's Most Influential Women. Dr. Reid conceived and developed the B.S. Forensic & Toxicological Chemistry program at WCU and was instrumental in that program achieving accreditation (as one of only 5 programs in PA) by FEPAC (the Forensic Education Program Accreditation Council). In order to learn what students needed to be taught, Dr. Reid worked for no salary at a variety of police, medical examiner and toxicology laboratories in the area during the summer for several years, and developed & gained CAPC approval for the Forensic Chemistry courses CHE & CRL 371; her contacts also enabled students to complete for-credit (CHE 451) professional internships at state and local police labs, medical examiners’ offices, and commercial toxicology laboratories as a required part of their degree program. The continued tremendous popularity of this major is due to her selfless dedication to serving our students for many years. 

Chemistry Outreach Event with the YMWIC

As you can see here, we had a blast when we hosted scholars from the Young Men & Women in Charge Foundation for an evening of chemical demonstrations and fun.

NSF S-STEM Scholarships Available

Interested in chemistry and a scholarship? Complete information is available here.

This opportunity comes with an academic scholarship of $9,000 per year for up to four years, paid summer research and internship opportunities, and other mentoring and support.

If you have already been accepted at WCU and are planning to major in Physics, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, or Geosciences and qualify for a Pell Grant according to your FAFSA, you should submit an application for the S-STEM scholarship program. You will be taken to the S-STEM scholarship application after you sign in. Submit before April 15th to have priority consideration.

1871 Award & Publication on Surface Modification

Congratulations to chemistry major Jacklyn DiPietro for being named among 40 outstanding students to receive West Chester University’s 1871 Award. This award recognizes students who excel in the academic and co-curricular realms. Apropos of this award, Jackie is not only the President of the Alchemist Club and the Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honor Society, she also is first author on a study titled "Characterization of Mechanochemical Modification of Porous Silicon with Arginine" that was just published in the journal Surfaces.

Chemistry Department Scholarships

There are several departmental scholarships available to chemistry majors who attend West Chester University. These scholarships are in addition to other scholarships that are offered university wide. For a full list of scholarships and awards see Scholarships and Awards in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Some of these departmental scholarships are for students that have already made some progress towards their degree (Reynolds and Challen), and others are specifically for incoming freshmen (Bravo and Magnuson).

Students normally apply for the Reynolds Scholarship and the Challen Scholarships in the fall semester. For application forms and specific information about the scholarships offered in Fall 2021, please use this link.

2021 Awards for Excellence in Chemistry

The Scholastic Achievement Awards of the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society were presented to Kyle Shaffer (Chemistry) and Yaseena Alli (Biochemistry).

The American Institute of Chemists Awards were granted to Madisson Gladfelter (Chemistry) and Corinne Gallagher (Biochemistry). The Reid-Fenton Award for Forensic & Toxicological Chemistry was given to Elizabeth Malozzi. Congratulations to all the awardees on their accomplishments!

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award

John TownsendCongratulations to Professor John Townsend, who was named the winner of the 2021 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in Chemical Science. The award is presented by the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society and is sponsored by Merck & Co.




Meeting the World's Biggest Challenges with the Tiniest Objects

In a presentation from the 2021 NNI Strategic Planning Stakeholder Workshop: Charting the Path Forward, Professor Kurt Kolasinski discusses future directions in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Work on Luminescent Nanostructures Published

The pandemic may have stopped our students from going back into the lab but it didn't stop them from analyzing their data and writing up the results. Three of our recent graduates – Teresa Lee, Benjamin Roe and Joseph Swanson – have had their work published in this article Response of Photoluminescence of H-Terminated and Hydrosilylated Porous Si Powders to Rinsing and Temperature.


Data/Graph Chart

Molecule Example

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