Alumni News from the Reed Magazine, June 2017

The summer issue of the Reed magazine was titled “Game On”, just right for summer break. Summer research students swarmed the chemistry department, bunching around benches and fume hoods, darting in and out of faculty offices, bunching again to each lunch and to exchange notes at the weekly “group meeting.” What was once schoolwork had become an elaborate game of “20 questions,” students with their experimental questions on one side, Mother Nature miming her answers on the other. Amidst all this was a large-scale renovation of “third floor” offices and labs, which is still underway. Stay tuned.

Looking deep inside the magazine … we learned that Prof. Arthur Glasfeld [chemistry 1989-] had once “kicked the ass” of psychologist and Happify chief scientist Acacia Parks ’03 “so hard” that she decided to change her career path from psychiatry to psychology (“Play Your Way to Happy”, p. 32). Commenting on her intro chemistry experience, Ms. Parks said, “Part of why I love Reed was because I could get my ass kicked in a class and earn a C and be like, ‘I’m still glad I took that class.'” It’s not hard to see how a person with that kind of attitude might end up developing a gaming system app that trains you to overcome emotional distress.

Closer to the front of the magazine was an unusual announcement: two chemists have been added to the Reed College Board of Trustees (“Reed Welcomes New Trustees”, p. 9):

  • Nick Galakatos ’79 wrote his Reed chemistry thesis on “Synthesis of Bis(trimethylsilyl)difluoromethane as an Intermediate in the Preparation of Difluoromethanedisulfonic Acid” with Prof. Marsh Cronyn ’40 [chemistry 1952-89]. Nick followed that by earning his PhD in organic chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Dan Kemp ’58, and returned to Reed to teach organic chemistry [1983-4] before finding his way into the pharmaceutical and investment sectors, where he is currently cofounder and managing director of Clarus Ventures.
  • Tom Daniel earned his BA in chemistry from Southern Methodist University in 1974. From there it was on to medical school (U. Texas Southwestern), a faculty posting at Vanderbilt University (1986-2000), and then biotech (Immunex, Amgen, Ambryx, …).

When you finish reading about our trustees, turn the page so you can also read the story of Rose Gonoud ’17 (“Chem major battles malaria parasite”, p. 10; see also 24 May 2017 post on this site). Rose is just one of several Reed chemistry students who have battled the malaria parasite in the OHSU research lab of Prof. Michael Riscoe in recent years. Other ‘anti-malarial alumni’ have included Alina Krollenbrock ’12, Emma Farley ’13, Kayla Sheridan ’13, and Lisa Frueh ’15. The keys to making off-campus research successful are supportive, understanding, off-campus advisors like OHSU’s Senior Staff Scientist, Dr. Aaron Nilsen [chemistry, 2012-13], making a solid connection with the personnel who you will work alongside in the off-campus lab, and the ability to manage a schedule that includes a lot of off-campus time (in the lab and in transit). Kudos, Rose!

Class Notes amounted to a mere 5 pages, which prompted this statement from the magazine’s editor:

Class Notes are the lifeblood of Reed Magazine. While a Reed education confers many special powers, omniscience is unfortunately not among them; your classmates rely on you to tell us what’s going on. So share your news! Tell us about births, deaths, weddings, voyages, adventures, transformations, astonishment, woe, delight, fellowship, discovery, and mischief.”

To this I will add, if you don’t tell us these things, we just might Google you. Fair warning.

In fact, there was chemistry alumni news in the Class Notes section … Philip Wilk ’95 and wife Sarah announced the birth of their second child, Aaron, and Philip’s hopes for a private pilot instrument rating … and Lyndsey Earl ’07 and Thom Drane ’08 offered this “completely unbiased” assessment of their newborn niece, Mighty Martha: “Mighty Martha is the best baby ever. Mighty Martha’s hobbies (see photo on p. 42) include making dinosaur noises, exploring print media, and pursuing the cat’s tail.” It seems like a fair assessment to me.

In Memoriam told us that Prof. Frederick Tabbutt [chemistry 1957-71] had passed away on November 11, 2016 in Olympia, Washington. Fred was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He attended Haverford College, and then earned a PhD in chemistry from Harvard before coming to Reed for 14 years of energetic teaching and research (if you search this blog you will find his name listed twice as a thesis advisor and that list will no doubt grow over time). He eventually moved north to teach at Evergreen State College, where he was a “strong proponent of collaborative interdisciplinary teaching and learning,” but not before leaving Reed chemistry students like Bill Gilbreath ’58 with the indelible impression of having had the good fortune to study from “a hell of a nice guy.”

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