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Celebrating Excellence in the Sciences
Jeff Hindes '11 (l.) and Associate Professor of Chemistry Scott Van Arman at work in the lab.
In the years since Claude Yoder ’62 enrolled at Franklin & Marshall in 1958, the College has undergone numerous changes to its physical campus and to its curriculum. The College’s course offerings have become more diverse, and so has its student body. New buildings have been constructed, and longtime professors have retired.
But some things have remained consistent through the years, including the College’s longstanding tradition of excellence in the sciences. Few people know that better than Yoder.
“When I was looking at colleges, one of my high-school teachers told me that I should consider F&M,” says Yoder. “I checked it out, and he was right. It was rigorous and welcoming, and it had a tremendous record of getting students into graduate school and medical school.”
Yoder went on to major in chemistry at F&M, and is now Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry at the College. With encouragement from Provost and Dean of the Faculty Ann Steiner, he recently teamed with Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Geosciences Carol de Wet to brainstorm ways to celebrate F&M’s tradition of high-quality teaching and undergraduate research in the sciences. Their work resulted in a website celebrating the College’s history of excellence in the sciences, including biology, chemistry, earth and environment, mathematics, physics and astronomy and psychology.
Developed by Sri Dasgupta, director of web content, the website highlights the careers of selected alumni who share their thoughts about the education they received at F&M. It also spotlights current students and faculty who have received honors or grants. The site will continue to grow with more success stories from F&M’s science departments, including those from emerging disciplines such as computer science.
“A common theme among the alumni is the individual attention they received from faculty members at F&M,” Yoder says. “They also talk about their undergraduate research opportunities, and about the value of the liberal arts in advancing their careers or helping them in other ways.”
Seventeen alumni contributed their personal experiences to the website, including Margaret Clark ’73 (psychology), Amy Hofmann ’04 (earth and environment), Jennifer Mass ’90 (chemistry), Robert Lynch ’05 (physics) and Judy White ’73 (biology). In many cases, faculty members at F&M played integral roles in encouraging the alumni to attend graduate school.
F&M students have an excellent track record of getting into graduate school, Yoder says.
“The chair of the chemistry department at Northwestern once called and said, ‘We’ve accepted more students from F&M into our graduate program in chemistry than from any other school of any size,’” Yoder says. “These things snowball, and before you know it, a school is ready to accept even more F&M students.”
Similar stories exist across F&M’s scientific disciplines. For more on F&M’s tradition of excellence in the sciences, visit the new website.