Meet Our Team

MicroLab’s team understands the problems and needs of college faculty because all are active or recently retired college/university chemistry faculty themselves. Collectively, this group brings well over 300 years of successful experience in college/university chemistry teaching and research to help our colleagues improve opportunities for their students to learn chemistry.

Dr. John Amend

Amend

Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at Montana State University and a founder and President of MicroLAB.   He holds a B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University, a M.S. from Montana State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Amend has served as a consultant for Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Reclamation, and others.  He worked as a civilian electrical engineer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps Alaska Communications System, as a Visiting Scientist at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and from 1967-2005 as a member of the Chemistry faculty at Montana State University where he was Department Head in the 1990′s.   More than 29,000 students enrolled in Dr. Amend’s chemistry courses at Montana State University.  During this time he directed NSF and NIH-supported curriculum projects and summer and academic year workshops in nuclear and instrumental chemistry and integrating computers into lab instruction.  These workshops were attended by more than 800 college and high school chemistry and physics faculty, and were the source of many of the ideas and software design involved in MicroLab.   He received MSU’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award, and was recognized three times by students as Montana State University’s Professor of the Month.  Over sixty undergraduate and graduate students worked in his laboratory at MSU, one winning the University’s Outstanding Doctoral Award in 1990.  The LabWorks interface project came out of  Amend’s research group in 1990, and was subsequently sold by the University.

Amend is author of more than 60 papers and ten textbooks, including one which was translated and reprinted in Italy. He is senior author of a U.S. patent concerning analog computer design (rights held by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission), and three patents in chemical instrumentation.

In 2003 Dr. Amend received the Two Year College Chemistry Association’s (2YC3) Award for Outstanding Service to Chemical Education, was honored with membership in The Order of the Engineer in recognition of his contributions to Engineering Education, and received the Montana Science Teachers’ Association Award for service to Science Education.  In 1990 he received Pacific Lutheran University’s Centennial Alumni Award as one of 100 alumni honored on the University’s 100th anniversary.  At its 2013 Homecoming, Montana State University presented him its “Distinguished Faculty” award.

Dr. Norbert Pienta

PientaDr. Pienta has the unique advantage of a multifaceted career, starting in research and leading into chemical education.  As Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Chemical Education, and an active researcher in chemical education, Dr. Pienta is aware of the many challenges professors face in educating students of knowledge-diverse backgrounds in the beauty of chemistry. He began his career studying physical organic chemistry, receiving a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Rochester, a Ph.D. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and investigated calorimetry of superacid systems and carbocation formation in his postdoctoral work at the University of Pittsburgh and Duke University.  After holding Assistant and Associate professorships for close to 10 years, Dr. Pienta’s career transitioned to chemical education in the early 1990’s.  He became Director of Undergraduate Curriculum Development and Director of Laboratories at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and later, an Associate Professor in Chemical Education and Director of both General Chemistry and the Center for Teaching at the University of Iowa.  He currently is Professor and Director of General Chemistry Instruction at the University of Georgia-Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. He has 48 published articles and editorials, given talks at over 35 meetings, and authored and edited several books including Instructors’ Resource Manual for General Chemistry, Chemist’ Guide to Effective LearningOrganic Chemistry Toolboxand Chemistry in Context: Applying Chemistry to Society.  His most recent works investigate the cognitive engagement of students with respect to problem difficulty.  Dr. Pienta is a founder and currently Chairman of the Microlab Board.

Dr. Richard Hermens

Hermens

Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at Eastern Oregon University,  Dr. Hermens was recently named Fellow of the American Chemical Society. Hermens enjoyed a 39-year career teaching physical, analytical, inorganic and general chemistry, principally at EOU.   A 50-year member of the ACS, he was instrumental in organizing the Eastern Oregon Science Journal which opened the door to students in any science and mathematical field to publish their research. He received Eastern Oregon University’s Distinguished Teaching Faculty Award in 1988, and was recognized eight times with EOU’s  Meritorious Professor award.  He holds three patents and has 18 publications and 54 presentations on his research.

Hermens also served as chair of the science division at EOU for 12 years and was a member of numerous national and regional ACS committees. In 2000, he received the Chemical Manufacturer’s Association national Catalyst award for his contribution to chemical education, and in 2003, received the University of Idaho’s Honorary Alumnus Award. Dr. Hermens is a founder of MicroLab and member of the Board.

Dr. Dale Hammond

Hammond-Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at Brigham Young University – Hawaii,  Dr. Hammond became interested in using computers in the chemistry lab in 1990 after a meeting with Dr. John Amend, and was one of the original investigators in the Computers in Chemistry Laboratory Initiative (CCLI), an NSF funded initiative in 1992. Dr. Hammond was a founder, and involved in the development of the MicroLab Data Collection System from day one.  He led one-day and one-week workshops focused on computers in the laboratory, and made many conference presentations on behalf of the use of computers in chemistry laboratories.   Dr. Hammond has been recognized for distinguished teaching, and on his retirement he received Brigham Young University – Hawaii’s Distinguished Service Award.

 

Colin Henck

Henck

Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator, Department of Chemistry, State University of New York, Albany.
Colin joined the Chemistry Department in 2004. Colin is responsible for the management of the instructional undergraduate laboratories which include the large General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry laboratories. Colin holds a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry and is currently finishing up an M.S. in Educational Administration. Colin has helped to develop experiments for the MicroLAB in general, analytical, physical and forensic chemistry lab courses. UAlbany currently has 6 FS 522’s and 54 FS 524’s in use, and recently acquired a FS 528 that they are exploring. Colin is available to run MicroLAB workshops in the New York area.

Dr. Roger Barth

Barth

Born in New York City, Dr. Barth was awarded a BA in Chemistry from La Salle College in Philadelphia and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from The Johns Hopkins University. After working as an industrial chemist at UOP in Des Plaines, Illinois in the field of car catalysts, he took post-doctoral appointments with Bruce Gates in the chemical engineering department at University of Delaware and with Xenophon Verykios in the Chemical Engineering Department at Drexel University. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at West Chester University of Pennsylvania since 1985. He teaches General Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Chemistry Seminar, and he created a new course on the Chemistry of Beer in 2009. Dr. Barth is working to raise awareness of beer as a suitable theme for engaging student interest in chemistry. His book, The Chemistry of Beer: The Science in the Suds, was published in November 2013 by John Wiley. He is an accomplished home brewer, making ale and lager styles by the full mash method.

Dr. Tom Kuntzleman

Tom Kuntzleman

Dr. Tom Kuntzleman has been teaching science for over 20 years.  He has earned a B.S. Ed. from Bloomsburg (PA) University, an M.S. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.  While Tom has taught science at every level from middle school through college, he has been teaching Chemistry at Spring Arbor University for the past 10 years.

Tom is heavily involved in informal science education.  He has delivered well over one hundred science demonstration shows on and off campus.  He is the founder and director of the Cougar Science Camp, which regularly draws about one hundred K – 8th grade students to the campus of Spring Arbor University for a week of science experiments, demonstrations and fun.

Tom’s research interests are varied, which reflects his deep appreciation of all things scientific.  He publishes regularly in the Journal of Chemical Education on topics as varied as quantum mechanics, kinetics, electrochemistry, and informal science education.  He currently writes a blog for the JCE’s Chemical Education Xchange site.

Tom has been using MicroLab equipment in his classes and research since 2005.  He is very much impressed by MicroLab’s ability to open up avenues of research for students and faculty at small undergraduate institutions.

Dr. Mike Seymour

SeymourCompleted his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN in 1972.  After completing his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Arizona he started teaching at Hope College in 1978, where he still continues his academic career.  His exposure to computer/instrument interface projects throughout his time at the U of A influenced his early research at Hope, where his students assembled a Heathkit H89 computer with 48k of memory for a simple automated titration.  After a serendipitous meeting with John Amend at a national ACS meeting in 1990, Mike joined John’s team working on the NSF funded Computers in Chemistry Laboratory Instruction (CCLI) Initiative, which used the early version of the LabWorks interface.  Since a NSF ILI grant in 1994 provided computers to fully implement the LabWorks interface as an integral part of the Hope General Chemistry lab program, the LabWorks/Microlab approach to collecting high quality data as a way to probe and understand chemical processes continues to be an important aspect of student learning at Hope.  Over the past 15 years, which included 10 years as Chemistry Department Chair, Mike has assisted in a variety of teacher workshops, beta-tested hardware advances, visited schools for on-site demonstrations, and contributed to the development of new laboratory experiments.  He enjoys working with new MicroLab users, as they often have ideas about trying something from a different perspective.

Dr. Hylton McWhinney

Dr. Hylton McWhinney is a Professor of Chemistry at Prairie View A&M University. He earned a PhD (1990) from Texas A&M University, College Station in Analytical Chemistry, with specialization in Surface and Interfacial Characterization. In addition to his teaching and research activities, he has served as Assistant Dean in the office of Research and Graduate Studies at Prairie View. He directs the operation of the Surface Science Facility located in the Department of Chemistry. His synergistic and collaborative interactions include; the Naval Research Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, local and International Universities. Dr. McWhinney is the author and co-author of over 20 peer reviewed publications. He has been successful in securing research funding from several federal agencies, including the DOE, NSF and the Department of the Interior. His main research interests are: (1) Surface phenomena in environmental chemistry and environmental remediation which involve: speciation and transport of contaminants in the vadose zone; surface science applications to energy based pollution systems. (2) Surface chemistry of functional and structural materials, their properties and characterization. He is very keen on teaching with technology which enables the student to perform “real live” science tasks that teaches and enhances STEM concepts and principles. To that end, he has developed capabilities for using MicroLab equipment for instruction in Analytical Chemistry at Prairie View A&M University.