Find YOUR element at Otterbein!
Department of Chemistry
How can Otterbein University help you “find your element”? From your first chemistry class through your senior year, you will work directly with faculty in small courses and laboratory experiences. Opportunities abound for research with faculty at Otterbein and internships at companies in the Columbus area and throughout Ohio. Our rigorous curriculum is approved by the American Chemical Society and will prepare you for a wide range of post-graduate pathways. Otterbein Chemistry alumni can be found working in chemical industry, treating patients, managing high-tech companies, and conducting research as a graduate student or in academia, among many other activities.
To keep up with the latest news in the Department of Chemistry, check out our newsletter, Chemistry Matters, at the Otterbein Digital Commons.
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Check out our "Science Rules" video, where Otterbein students explain how Mentos and Diet Coke react to one another.
Student, Faculty, & Alumni Spotlights
Students are encouraged from day one to interact with their faculty and fellow students; to find a way to further our learning both in and out of the classroom; and to finds ways to apply the knowledge we’ve been endowed with to help those we encounter throughout life.
Lily Nichols ’22
Chemistry B.S. & BMB double major with minors in Math & Physics.
I had never thought about a career in chemistry before Otterbein, but with the help and encouragement of the professors, I finally realized my true passion.
I entered Otterbein as a Chemistry major with an unknown path, but I knew that the field was very diverse. The often-repeated mantra of my professors and mentors that I don’t need to know what to do with my life right now, and that there’s still time for me, is comforting.
Erin Kibby ’22
B.S. Chemistry major with a minor in English literary studies
As a Chemistry Major in the Honors Program, I am now taking on an Honors Thesis Project which requires research in a whole new way.
This feeling of belonging in a community of people was new to me but having the capability to communicate with fellow peers in scientific language was beyond exciting. I have never felt more prepared and more supported for my future until meeting my chemistry teachers at Otterbein.
Carsyn Stobart ’21
Chemistry B.S. major
Being involved in organic research with Dr. Grote helped opened my eyes to not only the world of chemistry but the world of helpful mentors.
The rigorous course work at Otterbein has prepared me for my future in dental school. I have formed habits that will allow me to succeed at the next level. The state-of-the-art lab facilities have helped develop my hand skills which will be very useful for dental school.
Noah Highfield ’22
B.A. in Chemistry, Pre-Professional Health Studies
At Otterbein, you will become a well-rounded student, be able to critically think, and apply what you have learned in the classroom to the real world.
Mentoring relationships will help you grow and find your path – join a research lab in your first year, present at a national scientific meeting and more!
WE ARE developing a new generation of STEM Scholars.
I would most certainly not have become a Technical Fellow of a chemical company or have been given the responsibility of envisioning, championing, and overseeing a multimillion-dollar strategic technology research portfolio without my Otterbein experience.
Michael Huston ’86
Senior Technical Fellow at the Lubrizol Corporation
What Otterbein does best? First, builds a close sense of community and involvement. Second, ensures students feel valued and important, and third, brings students of all studies together. Through the Honors and Integrative Studies courses, I made a lot of friends in other majors.
Allie Weber ’15
Customer Support Manager at the CEM Corporation
I love that you can be whoever you want to be, and that you’ll be supported in those choices. I was able to study chemistry, ride for the equestrian team, and be a part of a sorority, without anyone telling me I couldn’t do it all. If you can dream it, you can do it at Otterbein.
Mallory Gasbarre ’17
Research Associate at Luna Innovations, Charlottesville
The internship I got during my time at Otterbein was the reason I got my current job at the same company. Research experience at Otterbein allowed me to become more confident in my laboratory skills and that was a very valuable experience.
Elizabeth Tinapple ’19
Analytical Chemist at S.E.A. Limited, A.S. from Columbus State Community College, B.S. from Otterbein
The techniques I learned in my organic chemistry lab are actual practical skills that I use in my synthesis job today. There is an abundance of lab experience to be had at Otterbein through coursework and independent research, and that prepared me for my career today.
Liz Isaac ’18
Chemist at the Lubrizol Corporation
Students at Otterbein have the opportunity to explore structural chemistry using sophisticated instrumentation not typically found at an undergraduate institution.
Dr. Dean Johnston
The Chemistry Department is a leader in the use of X-ray diffraction at the undergraduate level, providing students with hands-on experiences characterizing materials and determining the three-dimensional structures of molecules.
Inspired by conservation efforts to remove graffiti ink from a Mark Rothko painting, Dr. Carrigan Hayes and Dr. Joan Esson worked with a student to develop a laboratory activity that incorporated chemistry.
Dr. Carrigan Hayes & Dr. Joan Esson
Dr. Dean Johnston has been developing new materials on coding and cheminformatics and has been working on a collaborative teaching project with outside experts and faculty at four other institutions around the world. He also developed a website that enables faculty and students to visualize molecules. It gets more than 10,000 visitors per week from 150 countries.
Dr. Dean Johnston
Dr. John Tansey recently authored a new textbook “Biochemistry: An Integrative Approach”. In addition to the text, online resources include videos of Dr. Tansey solving problems from the text, electronic homework, and Dynamic Figures; an interactive, web-based tool for exploring biological molecules. Dr. Tansey says that writing the book was a lot of fun.
Dr. John Tansey
Department Features & Student Opportunities
News - April 12, 2021Otterbein’s Community Garden is celebrating its 10th year of providing hunger relief to local food pantries, including Otterbein’s on-campus Promise House. In addition to its work fighting food insecurity, the garden serves as an innovative study and research site for Otterbein students, faculty, and staff. Two classes offered by Professor of Chemistry Joan Esson spent time learning about and using products from the garden during Fall 2020. “There’s something special about being out in the Otterbein Community Garden that just catalyzes a students’ thinking,” said…
News - April 6, 2021Otterbein University has received a Choose Ohio First (COF) grant from the State of Ohio and the Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to increase the number of Ohio residents completing postsecondary studies in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) and STEMM education. “Choose Ohio First provides an excellent opportunity for those students who stay in Ohio and continue their education to get the skills they need to succeed in promising career fields,” Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy…
News - March 15, 2021It was a journey of 10 years from idea conception to publication, but the new biochemistry textbook from Otterbein Professor of Chemistry John Tansey will soon be in the hands of students across the country. His textbook, Biochemistry: An Integrative Approach and Expanded Topics, will be published later this year. Rewriting and updating biochemistry textbooks has been a passion project for Tansey, who felt that currently available textbooks weren’t meeting the needs of today’s students. Professor John Tansey “Most chemistry and biochemistry textbooks were published in the 1970s and…
Programs of Study in Chemistry
Science Center 236
155 W. Main St
Westerville, OH 43081
Otterbein has it all – excellent facilities, research opportunities, small class sizes and knowledgeable faculty dedicated to helping every student achieve their goals.