Frank Fronczek (BS LSU ’70, PhD Cal Tech '75)
Director, X-Ray Crystallography Laboratory
Department of Chemistry, LSU
Frank Fronczek grew up in the piney woods of southwest Louisiana. His mother was an elementary school teacher, who occasionally did substitute teaching, but mostly had her hands full with three boys. Fronczek Senior had a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and worked in the chemical industry around Lake Charles. Reflecting on his scientific influences, Franks says, “I blame it mostly on my dad.
Co-Founder, Chemical Angel Network
Sid White was born in Woodville, MS, and raised in Baton Rouge. His family lived near the airport and he attended Baker Elementary, Junior High and High School. LSU was a natural choice for further education. He was a chemistry major, graduating with a BS in Industrial Chemistry in 1965. He made lasting connections with the cohort of students who were his classmates for four years. Of his experience at LSU, White says, “the Chemistry program at LSU was excellent with dedicated and outstanding professors.” He also joined the Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity in 1963, and is an active member to this day. His advice to current chemistry majors is to figure out the area of chemistry and type of career that appeals “and take the necessary actions: employment, graduate school, networking, attending meetings etc.” Take responsibility and make it happen!
F. Chester Holmes Curtis F. Holmes
BS Arkansas A&T; MS LSU ‘41 BS LSU ’65; PhD Indiana University ‘69
Ethyl Corporation Consultant, Greatbatch, Inc.
F. Chester Holmes received a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Arkansas A&M College (now the University of Arkansas at Monticello). At A&M, Chester met his wife, Clara Campbell, who earned a BA in History. Chester and Clara Holmes were first generation college students. They moved to Baton Rouge, where they studied at LSU toward masters degrees in their respective fields. Chester’s advisor was Dr Edward Amis, who left LSU a few years later to spend the majority of his academic career at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Chester’s thesis was titled, “Dielectric and Solvent Effects Upon the Rate of Sucrose Inversion by Hydrochloric Acid.” Upon graduation from LSU in 1941, Chester was hired by Ethyl Corporation (now Albemarle) in Baton Rouge and spent his entire career there. He retired as "Chief Chemist" in the 1970s. He passed away in 1998 at age 92. Clara died in 2013, at age 101.
Curtis F. Holmes was born in Baton Rouge and lived within earshot of the LSU chimes, near Lee High School. He attended Southdowns Elementary, Glasgow Junior High, and Baton Rouge High. Like many kids in Baton Rouge, he continued this natural progression to become a student at LSU. Of his time at LSU, he says he received an excellent education from outstanding professors. To this day, Curt is an accomplished organist; during his student days he played at the University Methodist Church. He graduated in 1965. He was a graduate student at Indiana University, receiving his PhD in Chemical Physics. His specialization was irreversible thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. His mentor was Robert Mortimer and his dissertation was titled, “Evolution of the One-Body Reduced Distribution Function.” Curt met his wife, Carolyn, while a graduate student at IU.
LSU BS ’00, UT Austin MS ’02, Clemson PhD ‘08
Professor of Chemistry and Director of Chemistry Research Center United States Air
Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO
Since 2002, Scott Iacono was a research chemist at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems Directorate at Edwards Air Force Base, CA synthesizing inorganic-organic hybrid fluorosilicones for solid rocket motor propulsion components. In 2010, he joined the Department of Chemistry at the United States Air Force Academy and has since been promoted to Professor and concurrently serves as the Chemistry Research Center Director..
Sharon Vergez Vercellotti
LSU BS ’63; Ohio State MS ‘65
President, V-LABS, Covington, LA
Sharon Vergez received her BS in Chemistry from LSU in 1963. As an undergraduate she worked in the laboratory of Professor Jim Traynham who has been a life-long mentor. Sharon recalls, “In my junior year the faculty recommended me for an NSF summer internship award and that was granted for me to spend the summer doing research at the University of Arkansas. That was a real turning point in my career goals.
Lab Analyst, CITGO Petroleum Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex
Talitha Pitre is a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and a graduate of LaGrange Senior High School. She began her studies at LSU in the Fall of 2000 and was a member of the Tiger Band, a participant in the Minority Engineering Program, and a student laboratory worker with Drs Gambrell and Faulkner at the Wetland Biogeochemistry Institute. One day, while walking to the lab, Talitha met Dr Isiah Warner. Subsequently, she spent a semester working with a graduate student in the Warner Group. Talitha recalls, “That semester gave me the real world lab experience to prepare for a career.”
LSU BS '11; PhD UNO '17
Physical Scientist, NASA in Stennis, MS
Treva Brown was born and raised in North Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She received her diploma from Baton Rouge Magnet High School. She dreamed of attending Louisiana State University and her physics teacher provided her with advice and information. Treva recalls, “Ms Cao told me about STEM programs at LSU and I began considering them and came across the LA-STEM [Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] Scholars Program, for which I applied, and met Dr Isiah Warner.
Margaret W. Kelly Endowed Professor in Chemistry Xavier University, New Orleans
Dr. Maryam Foroozesh was born in Shiraz, Iran and grew up in Tehran, Iran. After graduating high school and turning 18, she emigrated to the United States of America. In January 1987, she came to Baton Rouge and became a Louisiana State University Tiger. When asked what she appreciated most as a chemistry major, she replied, “I really enjoyed doing research in Dr. Klaus Fischer’s group. I learned a lot and made great friends....”
Formally Retired, New Orleans, LA, Consultant for Heidelberg Cement
Paul Buras was a National Merit Scholar at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. Between his junior and senior year in high school, he attended an NSF Summer Science Training Program led by Dr Clyde Day at LSU. Paul says, “this experience really turned me on to science and I decided to major in chemistry.” He was awarded a “Top 100” Scholarship to LSU, turning down full ride offers to Rice and MIT.
Environmental Science & Toxicology, Baylor University
Christie is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Toxicology at Baylor University in Waco, TX. Her research focuses primarily on the health effects of nanotechnology-enabled products – from cradle to grave. She also teaches Environmental Health to the undergraduates and Fundamentals of Toxicology to the graduate students.
Principal Research Chemist, Eastman Chemical Co.
Dr. Damon R. Billodeaux graduated from Scotlandville Magnet High School in 1996 and decided to become a tiger at Louisiana State University. He started as a computer science major and after about 2 weeks decided he didn’t want to spend my life ‘coding.’ The training he received in classes in inorganic chemistry is what led him down the path to graduate school and organometallic chemistry.
Compliance & Operation Engineer, BASF
After growing up and attending high school in Brewerton, New York, Daniel Lazzaro made the decision to attend LSU and major in Chemistry. During his time here Daniel says he enjoyed a “wealth of knowledge and great facilities” that allowed him to explore all the great fields of chemistry. He discovered a particular affinity for analytical and inorganic chemistry and participated in a research semester with Dr. Murray, an opportunity he says helped him to be more successful in graduate school at Purdue where he earned his PhD in Inorganic Photochemistry.
US Medical Corp
United States Medical Corps Officer and LSU-Shreveport Health Sciences Medical School junior, Shan'Terika Remo was born in Winnfield, LA where she lived until age 10 when her father joined the military. After graduating Mansfield High School Remo enrolled in LSU and in 2010 claimed a Major in Chemistry to give her the option of deciding between MD, Md/PhD, or PhD.
R&D Chemistry, Albemarle
Melissa's interest in chemistry was sparked by a high school teacher. When she came to LSU Melissa chose a chemistry major to further her chemistry studies. After praticpating in an undergraduate research lab Melissa began looking for jobs in the chemistry field. After graduating in May 2008 Melissa took a position working for Albermarle Corporation in South Carolina.
After growing up in Baton Rouge Mary Lui began attending LSU and claimed a major in chemistry. It was in Dr. Gilman's Lab that Mary learned to appreciate the potential application of chemistry. After completing her degree in 2012 Mary began attending pharmacy school where is currently in her third year.
Historic Architecture Preservationist
Liz Lissy’s interest in chemistry began after attending Andrew Jackson Fundamental Magnet High School in Chalmette, Louisiana. Liz enrolled at LSU and majored in Chemistry and took Art History classes “just for fun”. As her senior year began she decided to look into career paths that could combine chemistry and art history. She graduated from LSU with a BS in Chemistry (CHEM concentration) in December 2010.
Senior Research Scientist, 3M
Lisa Brown grew up in Baton Rouge and attended Woodlawn High School. She started going to LSU in the Fall of 2002 as a music major. After taking a biology class her freshman year, she “realized that [her] brain was wired for more technical thinking” and decided to major in chemistry. The following semester, Brown became involved with the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS).
Senior Analytical Chemistry, Syngenta
Danielle Meador grew up in Meraux, LA and attended Andrew Jackson High School. When she began in Chemistry at LSU she wanted to become a medical doctor because she wanted to help people. After completing her summer research program Danielle felt reassured that chemists can make major impacts on society through developing medicines, vaccines, and technology. Today, Danielle is a Senior Analytical Chemist at Syngenta, Crop Protection where she helps to protect farmer’s crops by ensuring the chemicals they using are of good quality.
High School Teacher
After growing up in southeast Texas and attending Bridge City High School, Sarah Fox came to LSU and began majoring in Chemical Engineering. During her sophomore year, Fox changed her major to Chemistry after realizing that is what she was truly passionate about. Through after school tutoring, Fox discovered another passion in teaching, and found the GeauxTeach program which she describes as “the perfect merger of my desire to pursue chemistry and be able to teach.”