UPDATE: McDaniel College is closed Wednesday, March 21. The RED Snow Removal Plan is in effect. All campus offices, including Hoover Library, are closed. All classes and events have been canceled. Englar Dining Hall will adhere to its regular schedule. More info »


Chemistry Overview picture of McDaniel students in the lab illustration


The Chemistry Department offers coursework that provides the essential background if you wish to major in the subject to qualify for graduate study, government and industrial work, and secondary education. When combined with the appropriate courses in Biology, majors are qualified for admission to medical, dental, veterinary, and optometry programs, as well as graduate programs in medicinal chemistry, clinical chemistry, biochemistry, environmental studies, pharmacy, pharmacology, and related fields. The program in Chemistry meets the undergraduate professional standards of and has been certified by the American Chemical Society.

Eaton Hall, 3rd floor

Dr. Dana Ferraris
Department Chair
(410) 857-2491
Eaton Hall 309

Chemistry Online Catalog

Majors & Courses

The Department encourages students to combine courses in Chemistry with those in other departments—such as Biology, Mathematics, Physics, Economics, Exercise Science and Physical Education, and Political Science — to develop programs which will provide broad awareness consistent with the McDaniel’s liberal arts and sciences philosophy.

Undergraduate Major

Undergraduate Minor


Associate Professor and department chair Dana FerrarisAssociate Professor and department chair Dana Ferraris

(Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University), spent over 15 years doing drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry as a medicinal chemist. Still passionate about discovering drugs for unmet medical needs, his areas of research include two projects related to cancer therapy: design and synthesis of selective inhibitors of mono(ADP-ribosyl transferases) for use as biological probes and design and synthesis of binapthoquinones for the treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. As a synthetic/medicinal chemist, Ferraris is training his research students at McDaniel how to make small molecules that one day may be optimized into cancer drugs. He has also worked with McDaniel chemistry instructor Steve Robertson on an outreach program for the sciences in Carroll County high schools.

Associate Professor Peter CraigAssociate Professor Peter Craig

(Ph.D., University of Auckland), teaches Analytical, Inorganic, and Introductory Chemistry, a Food Chemistry First Year Seminar, and does research with students on heavy-metal chelating agents and metal complexes designed to function as antibacterial, anticancer or antiviral agents.


Associate Professor Melanie NilssonAssociate Professor Melanie Nilsson

(Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook), teaches Biochemistry and Physical Chemistry, while including her students in her research in the biochemistry of the diseases of aging, including Alzheimer’s, and most recently studies she and Environmental Studies professor Mona Becker are conducting on several Lakota reservations in South Dakota to explore academic and service-learning opportunities.


Associate Professor Marilyn SmithAssociate Professor Marilyn Smith

(Ph.D., University of Nebraska), researches and publishes on topics in medicinal chemistry as well as applied and computational chemistry, particularly the application of computational methods to drug design, when she isn’t in the classroom teaching Forensic Chemistry or mentoring the department’s senior capstone projects.



Emerti Faculty Members

Dr. Richard Smith, Professor of Chemistry Emeritus (1971-2015)

Student Awards


Established by the bequest of Professor Harry C. Jones, a scholarship is awarded to two juniors, one in the Chemistry Department and one in the Physics Department. (Awarded the previous Spring semester)

  • 2012-2013: Danielle Nicole Kestner – Chemistry Leigh Kane Blohm - Physics
  • 2011-2012: Louis Nathaniel Lachman – Chemistry Jason M. Smith -Physics
  • 2010-2011: Kimberly Elizabeth Acton - Physics Atlee Tyler Baker - Chemistry
  • 2009-2010: Eric Michael Lemmon – Chemistry Daniel Eugene Jones – Physics
  • 2008-2009: Erin Rose Balsamo - Physics Hayley Ann Grist – Chemistry
  • 2007-2008: Erin Nicole Bosley – Chemistry Kevin Andrew Gill – Physics
  • 2006-2007: Lenea Hope Rader – Chemistry Katherine Logan Chapman – Physics
  • 2005-2006: Kathryn Joanne Dunne Smith – Chemistry Laura Allison Baggaley – Physics David Holland Long – Physics
  • 2004-2005: Emily Bridget Vance – Chemistry Randall Thomas May – Physics
  • 2003-2004: Mark David Young - Chemistry Christopher Martin Drupieski – Physics
  • 2002-2003: Hezekiah Matthew Carty - Physics Evan Bryan Buckingham – Chemistry
  • 2001-2002: Todd Erik Peters - Chemistry Adam Martin Austin - Physics Misty Ann LaVigne- Physics
  • 2000-2001: Steven James Broadwater – Chemistry Jeffrey Ryan Groff – Physics
  • 1999-2000: Gaelen Patrick Cross - Chemistry Michael Anthony Morgan, II – Physics
  • 1998-1999: Sandra Kristina Ruby - Chemistry Brian Matthew Hornbecker - Physics
  • 1997-1998: Sarah Anne Chenoweth - Chemistry Christopher Wayne Kulp - Physics
  • 1996-1997: Robin Michelle Carroll - Chemistry Albert Daniel Wooten, Jr. - Physics
  • 1995-1996: Adam Michael Kline - Chemistry Melanie Lynn Phipps - Physics
  • 1994-1995: Emily Jean Snyder - Chemistry Eric Christopher Allman - Physics
  • 1993-1994: Elizabeth Marie Brennan - Chemistry Sin Yee Wu - Physics
  • 1992-1993: Erin Jill Thompson - Chemistry Tricia Lynn Skinner - Chemistry
  • 1991-1992: Kimberly Ann Mitchell - Chemistry Andrew Glen Brown - Physics
  • 1990-1991: no award
  • 1989-1990: Julie Ann Herling - Chemistry
  • 1988-1989: Beth Ann Trust - Chemistry
  • 1987-1988: Andrew Jonathan Raith - Chemistry Brian D. Wladkowski - Chemistry
  • 1986-1987: Jennifer Joan Brashears - Chemistry Pamela Aileen Hamm - Chemistry
  • 1985-1986: Elise Dawn Benck - Chemistry
  • 1984-1985: no award
  • 1983-1984: Michael David Armacost - Chemistry Jeffrey David Goettee - Physics
  • 1982-1983: Michael Jeffrey Grusby - Chemistry Erich Karl Lehnert - Chemistry
  • 1981-1982: Gary Allen Reitz - Chemistry
  • 1980-1981: David Owen Cleveland - Physics Paul Brian Warfield - Chemistry
  • 1979-1980: Michael John O'Loughlin - Chemistry Charles Henry Wheatley, IV - Physics
  • 1978-1979: Patrick Luther Holt - Chemistry Pamela Beth Hudson - Chemistry
  • 1977-1978: Richard Steven Clark - Chemistry
  • 1976-1977: Schuyler Durwin Grant - Physics Steven Ray Jaskulsky - Chemistry
  • 1975-1976: Michael Eugene Kline - Physics Carol Ann Rouzer - Chemistry
  • 1974-1975: John Spencer Phillips - Chemistry
  • 1973-1974: Per Hakan Jonsson - Physics Richard Keith Moats - Chemistry
  • 1972-1973: William Mitchell McCormick - Chemistry
  • 1971-1972: Cathy Lynn Van Dyke - Chemistry
  • 1970-1971: George Harold Baker, III - Physics Gary Wayne Schanche - Chemistry
  • 1969-1970: Richard Douglas Baillie - Chemistry
  • 1968-1969: Richard Wayne Kidd - Chemistry Clifford Robert Merchant - Chemistry
  • 1967-1968: no award
  • 1966-1967: Ardeshir Noshir Press - Physics Eric Lee Sander - Physics
  • 1965-1966: Frank Palmer Rinehart - Chemistry
  • 1964-1965: Walter Calvin Crouse - Chemistry
  • 1963-1964: Robert Donald Price - Physics
  • 1962-1963: Joseph Robert Downey, Jr. - Chemistry Harvey Milton Weiskittel - Physics
  • 1961-1962: Edmund Eugene Makosky - Physics
  • 1960-1961: no award
  • 1959-1960: no award
  • 1958-1959: Harold James Taylor - Chemistry
  • 1957-1958: Erich Henry Willen - Physics
  • 1956-1957: Walter Lawrence Hall - Chemistry
  • 1955-1956: Hugh Benton Howell - Physics
  • 1954-1955: Donald Henry Hensler - Physics
  • 1953-1954: no award
  • 1952-1953: no award
  • 1951-1952: Eugene Antis Mechtly - Physics
  • 1950-1951: no award
  • 1949-1950: Kyle Winfield Resh - Chemistry William Ashley Tanner - Physics
  • 1948-1949: no award
  • 1947-1948: no award
  • 1946-1947: no award
  • 1945-1946: Barbara Elizabeth Brower - Chemistry
  • 1944-1945: Jean Ellen Andrews - Chemistry
  • 1943-1944: no award
  • 1942-1943: no award
  • 1941-1942: Janus Elizabeth Yentsch - Chemistry
  • 1940-1941: Willard Franklin Everett - Chemistry
  • 1939-1940: Henry Milton Crosswhite, Jr. - Physics
  • 1938-1939: no award
  • 1937-1938: Charles Samuel Dorrance, Jr. - Physics
  • 1936-1937: no award
  • 1935-1936: Sterling Edwin Zimmerman - Physics
  • 1934-1935: Howard Wesley Cantwell, Jr. - Chemistry
  • 1933-1934: Howard Kemp Rathbun - Chemistry Roland Ellsworth Sliker - Physics
  • 1932-1933: Leo John Delaney - Physics
  • 1931-1932: Michael Edward Hernick - Physics
  • 1930-1931: Roy Thomas Edwards - Chemistry
  • 1929-1930: (first year): William Hobbs, Jr. - Physics Charles William Willis - Chemistry


The Award for Excellence in Chemistry or Biochemistry

Established by the bequest of Professor Harry C. Jones, a scholarship is awarded to two juniors, one in the Chemistry Department and one in the Physics Department. (Awarded the previous Spring semester)

  • 2011-2012 Louis Nathaniel Lachman
  • 2010-2011 Atlee Tyler Baker
  • 2009-2010 Eric Michael Lemmon
  • 2008-2009 Thao Lan Phuong Tran
  • 2007-2008: Erin Nicole Bosley
  • 2006-2007: Kaitlin Megan McLean Adam John Trexler
  • 2005-2006: Kathryn Joanne Dunne Smith
  • 2004-2005: No Award Given
  • 2003-2004: James Michael Lipchock
  • 2002-2003: Allen Whitfield Silfee
  • 2001-2002: Todd Erik Peters
  • 2000-2001: Steven J. Broadwater
  • 1999-2000: John Robert Seiders, II Jason Conley Valentine
  • 1998-1999: (first year) Sean Richard Breslin



The Chemistry faculty counsel each of its students carefully in order to ensure that each takes the courses which will best meet expected career goals. Opportunities exist for internships, research, and/or employment to give students practical experience in Chemistry and allied fields. Extensive use is made of off-campus internships and on-campus summer research assistantships to give students practical experience in their chosen profession.

Recent internships have ranged from participation as research assistants in the genomics lab at the National Cancer Institute to shadowing physicians in the Emergency Department of a nearby full-service hospital.

Recent student–faculty research collaboration

Student Professor Topic
Holland Brown, Adam Greenhaus, S. Mariel Ramey, Randolph Varga Mr. Steve Robertson Viticulture and Wine Chemistry 
Olusegun Alade, Triet Bui, Laura Carvalho, Deanna Dicello, Joel Kleinberg, Peter Merkel, Mary Yates Dr. Melanie Nilsson  Amyloid Fibrils in Disease and Technology 
Shakeara Moore, Patricia Woodward, Shatia Stowers Dr. Richard H. Smith Historical Study of African American Communities of Mt. Pleasant Maryland


McDaniel’s chapter of Gamma Sigma Epsilon, the national honor society in Chemistry, was established in 2003. Membership in Gamma Sigma Epsilon requires students to successfully complete 20 hours of chemistry courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in both Chemistry and general coursework. The chapter hosts guest speakers including accomplished alumni.

Graduating senior majors in the Chemistry Department participate in an annual “Signing of the Ladder” tradition. Dating back to the early 1980’s, students signed the ladder that was use in the Chemistry Seminar Room to retrieve journals stored on high shelves surrounding the room. The seminar room is gone, but the ladder and its tradition survive. Alumni often revisit the ladder to show family and friends where they signed.