professor lecturing

General chemistry offers new course sequence, welcomes new personnel

Starting in fall 2019, the Department of Chemistry is offering a new general chemistry sequence, CHEM 105/106 Introductory General Chemistry, in addition to CHEM 111A/112A General Chemistry. Introductory General Chemistry is designed to provide more options for students of varying backgrounds, especially for those who might not have a strong foundation from high school chemistry. The new course sequence continues the department’s commitment to supporting students and giving them the tools they need to succeed in chemistry.

New faculty and staff

The Department of Chemistry welcomes three new faculty and staff members to the general chemistry team:

Thomas Bakupog, PhD, joins the Department of Chemistry as a general chemistry lecturer and director of peer-led team learning (PLTL). Bakupog earned his doctorate from the University of Wyoming, Laramie. He has taught general chemistry for more than 7 years, including in his previous position at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Bakupog’s goal in working with students in general chemistry is to make chemistry more relatable to everyday life. He says, “You are able to think, read, and understand because of chemical reactions occurring in your brain. The food you eat provides you with chemical energy because of chemical reactions occurring in your stomach. Chemistry is life, and I hope to make chemistry come alive for our students.” Bakupog also hopes this approach will allow students to overcome some of the anxiety that traditionally surrounds chemistry.

Andrew Wessel, PhD, is a postdoctoral teaching associate for general chemistry. He will be part of the instructor team for CHEM 111A this fall, working with graduate AIs, developing assessment content, and making sure that recitations run smoothly. Wessel is a native of the St. Louis metro area. After completing undergraduate studies in chemistry and biology at Missouri University of Science & Technology, he returned to WashU for his PhD in chemistry. Since earning his PhD in 2017, Wessel has been teaching general chemistry as well as advanced labs within the Department of Chemistry. He aims to make the general chemistry experience clear and productive for everyone involved, instructors and students alike.

Taylor Pottgen, general chemistry project coordinator, handles support programs beyond the classroom. Pottgen has an MS in chemistry education and taught high school science for 6 years before coming to WashU. As project coordinator for Introductory General Chemistry, Pottgen will be facilitating peer-led team learning (PLTL) and the residential peer mentor program, leading weekly recitations, and assisting with chemistry peer mentors and the transition program. She hopes to use her pedagogical knowledge and years of classroom experience to help ensure student success through the many supplemental programs offered at WashU.

Established faculty and staff

Both general chemistry sequences also enjoy the continued support of veteran faculty and staff from the Department of Chemistry:

Bill Buhro, PhD, Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Chemistry
Rich Loomis, PhD, Professor of Chemistry and Director of Graduate Studies in Chemistry
Megan Daschbach, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry and Director of Chemistry Peer-Led Team Learning Program
Jia Luo, PhD, Lecturer in Chemistry and Director of General Chemistry Transition Program 
Gabriela Szteinberg, PhD, Project Coordinator for General Chemistry Supplemental Program
Rick Schneider, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Administrative Assistant
Angela Potter, Administrative Assistant