Chemistry Faculty & Staff

Jeff Grinstead, John Hanson, Steven Neshyba,
Megan Gessel, Sandra Ward, Eric Scharrer, Amanda Mifflin, Laura Strausberg
Luc Boisvert, Dan Burgard, Jeff Root, Bob Peaslee, Jo Crane, Stacia Rink, Heather Gilliland

Not in Photo:  Amy Odegard and Holly Jones

About the Department

The Chemistry Department offers a broad-based curriculum designed to meet the needs of a variety of students, from those taking only one or two chemistry courses in order to broaden their liberal arts background to those majoring in chemistry in preparation for a career in the chemical sciences. The department is approved by the American Chemical Society and offers degrees that are appropriate for students interested in careers in chemistry, medicine, dentistry, engineering, science teaching, or any other area where a scientific background would be valuable. Students are encouraged to consult with members of the department as they plan their undergraduate programs and to discuss career options in the sciences.

The expertise of the chemistry faculty covers all five major chemical sub-disciplines: analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. In addition to core courses in these major areas, faculty members teach upper-level courses on a variety of special topics including atmospheric chemistry, computational chemistry, materials chemistry, organic synthesis, and surface chemistry. Faculty members are also engaged in a wide range of research projects and all students seeking the BS degree participate in this research and produce a thesis based on their work.

In addition to being introduced to modern chemical knowledge and the role of chemistry in society, students in chemistry courses learn to think analytically and logically. As students move through upper-level courses, they develop the ability to critically assess work in the field and the attitude necessary to cope with the demands of independent inquiry. Students completing a chemistry degree are able to:

  1. rationalize and predict chemical behavior based on chemical principles;
  2. apply laboratory methods to investigate chemical phenomena and synthesize compounds in a safe and environmentally responsible manner;
  3. operate modern analytical instruments and interpret the data obtained from these instruments;
  4. use computers for collection and analysis of chemical data and the modeling and visualization of chemical structures and properties;
  5. communicate effectively in both written and oral forms typical of the chemical literature and professional conferences;
  6. search and use the chemical literature.



Heather previously worked with ALS Environmental in Kelso, WA where she spent time supervising the Organic Extractions Lab.  She spent time in the U.S. Navy as a Nuclear Reactor Operator (Electronic Technician) and attended The Evergreen State College where she earned her BS in Chemistry. 

 She has 3 children (Alyssa, Alex, and Megan), a husband (Jim) and a mighty 2 - pound dog (Jack).

We are happy to have Heather on board and if you are visiting Thompson Hall stop by to meet her in TH367. 



After 37 years of dedicated service as Storeroom Manager and officer in charge of everything Mike Hottott has retired.  He plans to stay busy with his property on the farm and other outdoor activities.
Wishing Mike well in his future endeavors, cheers! 
Please visit our News and Events page for reception pictures.




The Walter Lowrie Sustained Service Award is given to a faculty member in recognition of his or her sustained service across the university. Each year the Faculty Senate receives nominations and then, in closed session, selects one recipient. The Lowrie Award was established in 2004 to honor Walter Lowrie, professor emeritus of history and a leader in the creation of the Faculty Bylaws and founder in 1965 of the Faculty Senate.  Congratulations to Tim Hoyt, this year's recipient of the Walter Lowrie Sustained Service Award.



In 2003 the dean's teaching awards were named to honor Tom Davis, who served as dean of the university from 1973 to 1994. Faculty members in the ranks of instructor, assistant professor, and associate professor are eligible for the award. Congratulations to Dan Burgard, one of four faculty members who received a Thomas A. Davis Teaching Award this year.



The Environmental Chemical Sciences Program of the National Science Foundation has recommended funding of a supplementary request submitted by Prof. Neshyba. The award of $34,000 will support a month-long field research campaign in the Chilean Andes to study black carbon in Andean glaciers.  Read the details here.