Chemistry Alumni Stories

Dick Susie Pete and Belva Crain

WIU Education Brings Love for Three Generations of One Leatherneck Family

The Crain Family

Dick Crain graduated in 1956, with a degree in chemistry, and went on to become a pioneer in the anti-pollution movement and designed more than 100 pollution-abatement facilities. In 2010, he was honored with the WIU College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award. Read the full story.

The wedding of Dick and Susie pictured with Dick's parents Pete and Belva.

Bishnu Neupane

WIU Alumnus Continuing Research on 'Mad Honey'

Bishnu Neupane

Bishnu Neupane, a 2020 graduate with a master's degree in chemistry, and current Ph.D. candidate at the University of Iowa, is being recognized by University staff and students as an outstanding example of what WIU strives for its students to achieve.

In December 2020, Neupane had an article regarding "mad honey" published after working and studying this phenomenon since 2012. Being a native of Nepal, Neupane was quite familiar with the practice of locals collecting "mad honey" for its known medicinal properties. Read the full story.

Bishnu Neupane pictured at the Graduate Research Conference.

April Franco Mallika Asar

WIU Faculty/Student Collaboration Publishes Research Findings During Pandemic

Mallika Asar and April Franco

During the pandemic, WIU Assistant Professor of Chemistry Mette Soendergaard worked with graduate students Mallika Asar, of Lisle, IL (chemistry), and April Franco, of Aurora, IL (biological sciences), to prepare their research into pancreatic cancer detection for publication in academic journals. Read the full story.

Franco and Soendergaard were co-authors with Asar on the research and the article, which was published by the Biomolecules journal May 5, 2020.

Mallika Asar pictured working in the lab and April Franco pictured presenting her research.

Hannah Drake

WIU Alumna Pursuing Ph.D. Awarded Prestigious Research Study Opportunity

Hannah Drake

Hannah Drake, a 2016 WIU graduate with a bachelor's degree in forensic chemistry, was awarded a United States Department of Energy, Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) award to study at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the summer and fall of 2020. While at Western, Drake was the 2015 Lincoln Laureate, was an honorable mention award winner in the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, and was a student in the Centennial Honors College. Read the full story.

Hannah Drake pictured (photo by Peiyu Cai)

John Moon

Moon Celebration of Life

John Moon

Western Illinois University alumnus John Moon passed away in Macomb Oct. 29, 2019. Moon received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Western Illinois University (then called State Teachers College) in 1939. After the Pearl Harbor bombing on December 7, 1941, and inspired by his WIU Football Coach 'Rock' Hanson, on Dec. 29, 1943, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Read the full story.

John Moon picture singing the Star Spangled Banner at the Jan. 18, 2018 women's basketball game at WIU.

Nicole Walker

WIU Alumna Wins National Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship

Nicole Walker

Alumna Nicole Walker, a May 2019 graduate with degrees in forensic chemistry and foreign languages and cultures, was awarded an $8,500 national fellowship from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

"The Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship is an award for students members of the Honor Society that are beginning their first year of graduate or professional study," said Walker. "Each university chapter puts up one student, and 58 students are awarded the fellowship nationally. I was greatly honored to be WIU's choice, and am very thankful to have received this award." Read the full story.

Nicole Walker pictured