What is Chemistry?
Chemistry is the branch of science that deals with the identification of the substances of which matter is composed; the investigation of their properties and the ways in which they interact, combine, and change; and the use of these processes to form new substances.
Chemistry at Western
Western's Chemistry program provides close student-faculty contact and relatively small classes, direct access to modern laboratory equipment and instrumentation, and opportunities for cutting-edge research under the direction of a faculty advisor.
Within the department, faculty are active in many research areas including biofuels, protein engineering, computer modeling, catalysis, nanomaterials, materials for solar cells, electrochemistry, polymers, thin films, protein structural analysis by nuclear magnetic resonance and x-ray crystallography, and organic synthesis.
Western’s Chemistry program is widely recognized by employers and graduate schools as one of the strongest in the United States.
Western's Chemistry faculty embrace the idea of being true teacher-scholars, and are always hard at work fulfilling their goals in both areas. Because of this, Western undergrads have incredible opportunities to become part of the research laboratories of the faculty that teach their classes, from Jeanine Amacher's work into how small sequences of amino acids, or peptides, interact with bacterial sortase enzymes, Greg O'Neil's research with his undergraduates on modifying steroids, or John Gilbertson and Tim Kowalczyk involving their students in published research around breaking the nitrates cycle, undergraduates with the desire to be part of cutting-edge research can find a home in the Chemistry Department at Western and begin building their own legacy of research before even leaving their undergraduate environment.
Organizations and Clubs
Western Chemistry students can involve themselves in organizations such as the Chemistry Club (WEsTeRn Chem Club), a student chapter of the American Chemical Society, which provides students at Western with an opportunity to gain information on educational and professional opportunities and activities and gets students involved with fun social and service activities that help strengthen bonds among students and faculty; or SACNAS, the
Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, an inclusive organization focusing on building a supportive community for those pursuing a STEM major.
My professors are as excited about chemistry as I am. They teach with such vigor that you can’t help getting excited. I believe I’m getting one of the best undergraduate educations possible.
I love working in the Amacher lab for so many reasons: The people, the hands-on experience, the chance to work with expert biochemists — the list could go on and on. I know that Dr. Amacher and my teammates really care about giving me and the other undergraduates the opportunity to contribute real data to real research. Essentially, I’m not just in here washing dishes.
What can you do with?
Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as:
- University of California: Chemistry (PhD)
- Stanford University: Chemistry (PhD)
- California Institute of Technology: Chemistry (PhD)
- University of Chicago: Chemistry (PhD)
- University of Illinois: Physical Chemistry (PhD)
- University of Massachusetts: Chemistry (PhD)
- University of Oregon: Chemistry (MS)
- Western Washington University: Chemistry (MS)
Western Chemistry graduates have gone on to careers in medicine, aerospace, microelectronics, biotechnology, higher education, the energy sector, and many other fields, such as:
- Chemical/Pharmaceutical Sales
- Crime Lab Analyst
- High School Teacher
- Industrial Chemist
- Technical Writing
- Forensic Scientist
- Quality Assurance Specialist
- Research Scientist
- Occupational Safety Specialist