Degrees & Programs Chemistry
Immerse yourself in the lab and study with Christian professors.
In small classes, you work closely with professors who care deeply about you and your future. Demanding courses and a range of tracks help students think like a scientist and discover what it means to work in a lab. Chemistry majors undertake research with personal guidance from professors, and many spend 10 weeks in an intensive summer research program. Renovated labs and state-of-the-art instrumentation set Westmont's program apart and give graduates an advantage in finding jobs or getting into graduate school. You receive a first-rate education in chemistry from Christian professors who integrate faith and learning and prepare you for meaningful work.
The mission of the chemistry department at Westmont College is to provide a nationally competitive chemistry program that helps students become competent, thoughtful, and theologically reflective scientists, teachers, health-care providers, and citizens of our world.
Professional Track/Program A/Bachelor of Science
Leads to graduate study in chemistry and prepares students for challenging careers in teaching and research.
General Track/Program B/Bachelor of Science
Offers more flexibility and prepares students for working in a lab and teaching at the secondary level; additional study leads to a range of careers.
Biochemistry Track/Program C /Bachelor of Science
Includes a balance of chemistry and biology, provides the basis for pre-medical and pre-dental training, and leads to graduate study in biochemistry, molecular biology, biomedical research, or genetic engineering.
Chemical Physics Track/Program D/Bachelor of Science
Combines chemistry with a strong emphasis in physics and engineering and prepares students for graduate work in chemical physics or chemical engineering and for teaching chemistry and physics at the secondary level.
General Bachelor of Arts Track
Offers a broader curriculum or a double major; allows the most flexibility; four-year fast-track plan for a secondary teaching credential in chemistry in addition to the B.A. also available.
3-2 program with a degree from an engineering school and a Bachelor of Arts from Westmont College, combines the benefits the liberal arts and specialized training from an engineering school; interested first-year students need to plan their schedule with a professor to meet all requirements. See major requirements for details.
Instrumentation Available to Students
- Spectrometers: 400 MHz FT-NMR; UV-VIS (5); FTIR (2); Steady-state, time-resolved fluorescence spectrometer; AA spectrometer
- Separation Equipment: GC (3); HPLC
- Mass Spectrometers: LCQ Deca Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer with ESI probe; Integrated GC-MS
- Automated Electrochemical Analyzer
- Synthetic Lab: glove box, solvent purification system, rotary evaporators (4), numerous vacuum and Schlenk manifolds
- Biochemical Equipment: FLPC; automated gel electrophoresis system; membrane ultrafiltration unit; freeze dryer; centrifuges; incubators and incubator-shakers
As a chemistry student at Westmont, you get directly involved in chemical research. Chemistry majors are required to participate in research, and all our professors maintain active research programs. Each summer about 40 percent of our juniors and seniors serve as paid interns working in the lab. Students regularly co-author scientific papers based on their research, and several complete major honors work each year. This solid background has led many of our students to complete doctoral programs and medical school at top universities.
Helps biochemists understand neurodegenerative diseases and students make wise choices about medical school; expert in protein aggregation
Seeks a cleaner world through new molecules with his specialty in inorganic biochemistry; thinks with you about integrating science and faith
Physical chemist who uses powerful lasers to study surfaces and powerful teaching techniques to help you learn chemistry
Expert at orienting new students to experimental chemistry and keeping you safe in the lab
Mentor to a generation of undergraduate chemistry researchers; he probes the motions of molecules in thin films
Develops new methods for hooking molecules together and explores the wonders of organic chemistry with you
He has been studying reaction mechanisms with computational methods, especially related to C-H (carbon-hydrogen) functionalization.
Meet the Staff
- Chemical engineer
- Industrial or clinical chemist
- College professor
- High school teacher
- Marine scientist
- Radiologic technician
- Nuclear medicine technician
- Forensic serologist
- Technical writer
- Patent lawyer
- Industrial hygienist
- Industrial management
Westmont chemistry majors have earned graduate degrees from:
- UC Davis
- UC Santa Barbara
- UC Berkeley
- UC San Diego
- University of Chicago
- UC Riverside
- Iowa State
- Loma Linda
- Oregon Health Sciences
In June 2017, Westmont received a $225,000 from the Keck Foundation for the redesign of our laboratory curriculum. The project is entitled “Turning students into practicing scientists: integrating research throughout the science curriculum.” In the last five years, the biology and chemistry departments have incorporated more inquiry-based learning methods into lecture courses; this proposal will bring those into the labs as well. The grant also funds instrumentation required for the fifteen new modules. The chemistry department will acquire an electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) machine (photo above), while biology will purchase a real-time, quantitative PCR machine, hand-held GPS devices, a new Sorvall ultra-centrifuge, and a research-grade fluorescence microscope and imaging system.
Amanda Silberstein and Michael Everest accompanied three students to the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco. Student Karli Holman presented a poster summarizing work she had done under Amanda's direction entitled "Nickel-Catalyzed Borylation of Aryl O-Sulfamate." Holly Bowler and Ryan Korlewitz, under the guidance of Michael Everest, presented posters entitled "How Poisonous Is Milkweed? Spectrophotometric Determination of Cardiac Glycosides in Asclepias Syriaca" and "Using Evanescent-Wave Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy and a Chemical Gradient to Determine the Free Energy of Adsorption of Phosphotungstic Acid to Clean and Silane-Modified Silica," respectively.
Westmont certainly had vital roles in the annual meeting of the Southern California Christians in Science in April 2017 at California Baptist University. Steve Contakes and Michael Everest were co-chairs of the event, and Steve gave a talk on "Better Things for Better Christian Living Through Chemistry? Thoughts and Questions About Chemistry's Role in the Science & Religion Dialogue." Three Westmont students—Jacob Clark, Laurie Maragliano, and Makenna Musson—also attended as part of their involvement with the Westmont Faith and Science Club.
Karli Holman ’17 is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Caltech focusing on natural product synthesis. At Westmont, she had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for organic chemistry, and also completed a major honors thesis project on organic synthesis. Karli served on the Urban Initiative core team, and led a trip to serve the homeless in San Francisco over spring break. She was also a regular participant in Westmont's dance program and the Fringe student theater festival.
Aaron Wilk ’16 graduated with a triple major in chemistry, biology and music. An outstanding concert pianist, he conducted scientific research with Westmont professors. In the fall of 2016, he began an M.D./Ph.D. program at Stanford University. The eight-year program will prepare him for a career as a physician/scientist.
Elizabeth Simoneit ’15 enrolled at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in fall 2016 after spending a year teaching English in Querétaro, Mexico. She graduated from Westmont with degrees in Spanish and chemistry and won the Kenneth Monroe Award for academic achievement, campus leadership and impact on fellow students. She pursued two majors so she could communicate with Spanish-speaking patients in their own language and volunteer in communities where doctors aren’t easily accessible.
Dr. Kristi Lazar Cantrell ’00 graduated from Westmont and earned a master’s degree at Princeton University and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. She returned to Westmont in 2010 to teach chemistry and provide the kind of mentoring that has influenced her life so profoundly. She worked as a teacher’s assistant at Westmont and dreamed about teaching. Her area of expertise is in protein aggregation, including the deposits of misfolded proteins thought to be responsible for many degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. She involves students in this research.
Dr. Aaron Barnes ’12 has graduated from Dartmouth Medical School, where he found he was more prepared than most of his classmates from Ivy League schools. A double major in biology and chemistry, he says the summer research he conducted with Professor Kristy Lazar Cantrell ’00 gave him an advantage few medical students could match. He also learned that working in the lab didn’t fit him and continued to pursue his interest in medicine, provides more interaction with people. He wants to work with his hands in orthopedics or a surgical specialty.
Christopher Aubuchon ’94 never expected to go to college but applied to Westmont at the last minute. His professors inspired him to study science, and he earned a doctorate in chemistry at Stanford University. After graduating, he co-founded Exajoule, a company that designs Micro-Electro-Mechanical systems (MEMS) components for manufacture. Westmont honored him as Young Alumnus of the Year in 2004. Most recently, he founded and serves as CEO of FILLD, an on-demand refueling service that eliminates the need to stop at a gas station. He has also worked with the Corporate Development group of Tessera Technologies.