Majoring in Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Chemistry Certificate

Overview

We offer small classes, lots of interaction with professors and research opportunities that at many institutions would be limited to graduate students. All of our faculty are engaged in research that incorporates meaningful participation by undergraduates. You can pursue a degree in chemistry or biochemistry with professional certification from the American Chemical Society in either one. We also offer a major in environmental chemistry and an interdisciplinary major in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology — a popular choice for pre-med students because it covers all requirements for the Medical College Admissions Test. Most of our chemistry majors go on graduate programs in the sciences or professional programs in health-related fields.

Research opportunities

You have many opportunities for research through coursework and summer internships on and off campus. Areas of faculty research include antibiotic biosynthesis and resistance, mechanisms of firefly bioluminescence, computational analysis of fluorescent proteins, organic synthesis of biologically important natural products, and investigations on porous nanoparticles. Work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Henry and Camille Dreyfus Foundation, The Research Corp. for Science Advancement, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation. Many students co-author papers with faculty and present their work at major seminars.

Special opportunities

Our faculty have taken students to study away or conduct research in South Africa, Italy, across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. You might intern at a local hospital or biotech company, including Pfizer Inc. in nearby Groton, Conn. Special lectures are frequently given on campus by visiting researchers.

What can you do with a majorcertificate in Environmental Chemistry?

Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:

  • Global Product Manager, J.M. Huber Corp.
  • Lead Energy Specialist, Conservation Services Group
  • Chemist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Director of Clinical Lab Research, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Dentist
  • Forensic Chemist, Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • Research Study Assistant, Boston Children's Hospital
  • Chemist, Florida Department of Agriculture
  • Principal Scientist, Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Executive Director, W.M. Keck Foundation
  • Cardiologist, Seacoast Cardiology
  • Senior Associate Scientist, Pfizer Inc.
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
  • Chemistry Teacher, Moses Brown School
  • Associate Research Scientist, Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Doctoral Candidate, Yale University
  • Business Development Manager, Cisco Systems Inc.
  • Chemistry Teacher, Madison Public Schools
  • Project Leader, 3M
  • Patent Examiner, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

Faculty

Bruce Branchini, Hans and Ella McCollum '21 Vahlteich Professor of Chemistry Bruce Branchini, Hans and Ella McCollum '21 Vahlteich Professor of Chemistry

Bruce Branchini, Hans and Ella McCollum '21 Vahlteich Professor of Chemistry  (On sabbatical Spring 2015)
Firefly bioluminescence • Development of improved reagents for imaging genetic activity • Synthesis of bioluminescent compounds • Protein nuclear magnetic resonance

Vicki Fontneau, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry Vicki Fontneau, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry

Vicki Fontneau, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry
Protein biochemistry • Laboratory safety • Chemistry education

Maureen Ronau, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry Maureen Ronau, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry

Maureen Ronau, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry
Analytical chemistry • Organic chemistry

Tanya L. Schneider, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Tanya L. Schneider, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Tanya L. Schneider, Assistant Professor of Chemistry  (On sabbatical 2014-2015 academic year)
Biochemistry • Biosynthesis of natural products • Antibiotic resistance • Enzymology

Student profile


Yumi Kovic Yumi Kovic

ACS biochemistry


Q: Why Connecticut College?
A: I was drawn by the sense of community. Of the many colleges I toured, no school felt quite the same. This feeling has endured through my years here as I have built close relationships with my peers, professors and advisers.


Q: What is it like to study science at Connecticut College?
A: The most rewarding part is the accomplished, dedicated and inspiring faculty. It is obvious that students are the No. 1 priority, one of the great advantages of our small school. For example, my biochemistry professor often varies her curriculum to accommodate a question or a particular interest a student may have.


Q: Describe your first student-faculty research experience.
A: In my freshman year, I studied nanostructured manganese oxides with Professor Ching. I was able to work independently a majority of the time, which made research a very rewarding and often exciting experience.


Q: What role has CELS (the College's career development program) played in your career planning?
A: My CELS counselor has constantly given me the support and inspiration I need to apply to medical school. My counselor and the CELS office are truly amazing resources for internships, jobs and everyday advice.

Selected courses


  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Chemical Thermodynamics
  • Organic Spectroscopic Methods
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Biochemistry

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