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Field trips yield career opportunities

Barry McNamara
02/24/2010
Each time students of Monmouth College assistant chemistry professor Audra Sostarecz leave campus for a field trip, they may be getting a sneak preview of their next home after Monmouth.

“Every semester that I teach Advanced Analytical Chemistry, I like to take the students to either the University of Iowa or the Sigma-Aldrich Chemical Corporation so that they can see what it would be like to go to graduate school or to work in industry,” said Sostarecz. “These trips have also turned out to be good recruiting tools.”

Last spring, Sostarecz’s students toured the University of Iowa Imaging Center at its medical school, as well as the university's chemistry department. Three Monmouth alumni are currently in grad school there, including Lindsay Ditzler and Nate Coleman in the chemistry Ph.D. program and Matt Faron in the genetics Ph.D. program. Another MC alumnus, Kevin Watson, graduated with a master’s degree in chemistry last year.

Monmouth is also represented at Sigma-Aldrich, a leading life science and high technology company headquartered in St. Louis. Recent MC graduates Corey White and Jennifer Scott, who are employed there, conducted a tour last fall for nine Monmouth chemistry students. In addition to Sostarecz, students were accompanied on the trip by her colleagues Brad Sturgeon and Eric Todd, and by emeritus professor George Nieman. Todd assists Sostarecz with the lab portion of her Advanced Analytical Chemistry course.

“This was the second trip that we made to Sigma-Aldrich,” said Sostarecz. “Due to the chemistry department taking the students on these trips and due to the good work that Corey and Jen are doing at Sigma, the company’s production manager, Brian Delmez, decided to come to campus this year to do his off-site interviewing of students in this area.”

With the help of Michelle Shawgo of the college’s Wackerle Center, Delmez came to campus last week to interview Monmouth and Knox students who are graduating in May. Monmouth students Jessica Engle of Galesburg, Sahar Haghighat of Chicago, Om Kumar Shrestha of Nepal and Ted Tomlin of Wheaton were interviewed.