From the Chair - Summer 2021

Submitted by Diana Knight on

Dear Friend of Chemistry,
With my first year as chair completed, it is my pleasure to greet you in the first issue of our UW Chemistry Magazine. I hope this provides you with a look into the past year of our department—both from the bird’s eye view with our annual report of degrees awarded, fellowships, and honors, and from an insider’s perspective through stories about and from the members of our community.
To say that it has been quite a year is an understatement. Through the challenges of researching, teaching, and learning remotely; the hardship, loss, and grief caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; and the national reckoning of racism and systemic injustice; our UW Chemistry community has remained focused on our shared mission of inclusive excellence in teaching, service, and research.
In autumn 2020, we welcomed our first cohort of students in the Master of Science in Applied Chemical Science & Technology (MSACST) program—remotely. Ten of these students completed their degree, more are due to graduate this summer, and the remainder of this cohort will stay on to complete a master’s degree with thesis. We are proud that students like Riley Rogan have benefitted from this program amid the challenges of the past year. In autumn 2021, we will welcome a cohort of 34 students.
Rob Synovec stepped down from his role as co-associate chair for Graduate Education and Xiaosong Li holds the title of associate chair for Graduate Education. He is doing an excellent job overseeing our Ph.D. program with the help of the Graduate Education Committees as well as directing the MSACST program. Fifty-one students will join our Ph.D. program in the fall and the 49 Ph.D. students rising to their second year will finally work on campus together.
Gary Drobny stepped down as co-associate chair as of June 2021. Forrest Michael continues to lead the Undergraduate Program as associate chair, with the help of the Undergraduate Education Committees and Debbie Wiegand as director of entry-level programs.
After more than a year of modified operations, we look forward to returning to our beautiful campus and walking these familiar halls. We have exercised our creativity, relied on the strength of our colleagues and collaborations, and learned a lot. Anne McCoy pondered “what must we do differently and what can we do the same” and Andy Chia chooses to approach what’s next as what he wants to do rather than what he must do. We will take these lessons with us as we continue to work together to build a better world through new discoveries in the chemical sciences.

Munira Khalil

Munira Khalil
Professor and Chair