Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Academic Year 2016-17 News

2017 Graduates

From left to right: Jasmin Jeffery, Janay Little, Alayjha Forde, Bruce Burton, Dr. Urasa,
Hannah Landy, Adrianna Shy, Jerald Stacks, Latia Tucker

Congratulations to our 2017 graduates for a job well done.

  • Bruce Burton, B.S. Biochemistry
  • Alayjha Forde, B.S. Traditional Chemistry
  • Jasmin Jeffery, B.S. Biochemistry
  • Hannah Landy, B.S. Traditional Chemistry (expected in August, 2017)
  • Janay Little, B.S. Traditional Chemistry (expected in August, 2017)
  • Adrianna Shy, B.S. Chemistry/Forensic Chemistry
  • Jerald Stacks, B.S. Biochemistry
  • Latia Tucker, B.S. Biochemistry

Ms. Alayjha Forde will be attending the Medical Science Degree (MSD) program here at Hampton University. Ms. Jasmin Jeffery will attend a Post-bac Program at the University of Washington in Seattle; after which she plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in Immunology. Ms. Adrianna Shy is going to Brandeis University for the Ph.D. degree in Chemistry. Ms. Latia Tucker will be in the Ph.D. program in Pharmacology at the University of Cincinnati (Latia was the 2017 Departmental Honoree). Mr. Bruce Burton will be going on to direct employment. We wish all of our graduates a successful future.

Certificates of Completion and other awards were presented by Dr. Urasa to the graduating seniors.

Departmental News

Curriculum/Program Changes

A Master in Teaching (MT/Chemistry) degree program was approved by the University Faculty at the October 2016 Faculty meeting. Program implementation started immediately. The first four years in the program is devoted to completion of degree requirements in the content area (chemistry), and the fifth year is devoted to selected education courses offered through the School of Liberal Arts and Education. Graduates of the program will not only be certified to teach chemistry in K-12 institutions but will also receive American Chemical Society-certified degree in Chemical Education. With the addition of the MT program, the Department will now offer four curriculum tracks – Biochemistry, Forensic Chemistry, Master in Teaching, and Traditional Chemistry.

Laboratory and Classroom Improvement

Smart Boards (and smart classrooms) are now widely used in teaching, training, conducting meetings, and delivering presentations. Students matriculate at HU expecting to have ready access to this technology. The goal is to make sure that this technology is an integral part of our classroom and laboratory instruction. All classrooms and labs will be retrofitted with smart boards. Thus far, two classrooms and a conference room have been fitted with Smartboards.

Likewise, state-of-the-art tools for data collection, storage, and dissemination are essential in modern science laboratories. Tools and equipment with multifunctional measurement capability are mostly favored. An example is the MicroLab, a computer based data acquisition system. This rugged and very versatile device is compact and easy to use and allows the acquisition of several types of information (pH, colorimetric, electrochemical, spectrochemical, and thermal) from the same sample and at the same experimental setting. Data can be stored on the laptop or sent (wirelessly) to remote computers, smart phones, iPads, etc. The configuration and measurement features of the technology makes MicroLab applicable at all levels of laboratory instruction, from general chemistry to physical chemistry. Six MicroLab units have been installed in the Quantitative Analysis and Instrumental Analysis labs.

Annual Departmental Dinner

Our annual dinner was held on December 2, 2016. After eating a meal of authentic Sri Lankan chicken, shrimp fried rice, spaghetti, salmon cakes, Greek salad and more, students gave reflections on their academic and University life. Dr. Urasa followed with presentations for outstanding performance in General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. Several students gave presentations of their research. Well done--Adrianna Shy, Latia Tucker, Kennedy Goldsborough and Jasmin Jeffrey.

Annual Dinner 2016
Annual Dinner 2016
Annual Dinner 2016

Annual Dinner 2016

Annual Fund Campaign

Once again, the Department had 100% participation in the University’s Annual Fund!

Administrative Professional's Day 2017

We celebrated Administrative Professional's Day by having a group luncheon at Mango Mangeaux, a restaurant in Phoebus. The food and service were excellent and if you're not familiar with their story, be sure to check out their website,

Faculty Recognitions and Accomplishments

  • Dr. Charles Bump served as the Chair of the Chemistry Division at the Virginia Academy of Science (VAS) Spring meeting held at Virginia Commonwealth University, May 16-18, 2017. He gave an oral presentation titled "Phase transfer catalysis in the reduction of ketones by green tea".
  • Dr. Ghebreyesus has been conducting research with the PREM program. The ongoing research projects involve the design, synthesis, and characterizations of photo-switchable ligands and their corresponding metal complexes with potential application in light-switchable catalysis and photoactive metallo-drugs. Results from research activities were presented at the ACS meeting in Philadelphia held August 20-25, 2016. The presentation "Synthesis and characterization of photoswitchable ruthenium(II)-arene complexes incorporating pyridine and benzothiazole functionalized azopyrazole ligands" was a part of the Inorganic Technical program, paper number INOR 589.
  • Dr Ghebreyessus presented at the Virginia Academy of Science Spring meeting "Ruthenium(II)-arene complexes conjugated with photoswitchable N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC)- functionalized arylazopyrazole ligands" which was co-authored by A. A. Almutiri, a current graduate student.
  • Dr. Edmund Ndip served as the Vice Chair of the Chemistry Division at the Virginia Academy of Science Spring meeting held at Virginia Commonwealth University, May 16-18, 2017. His oral presentation was titled "Synthesis of some multichromophoric systems for molecular electronics" and the work was coauthored by R. Almrashi, a current graduate student
  • Dr. Peter Njoki served as a faculty advisor and mentor to two high schools rising 11th graders during the Summer High School NanoHU Pioneer Program (06/21/16 – 07/28/16). The program trains students to work in the laboratory, perform research and prepare a scientific poster. He also gave a Forensic Science and Chemistry talk to 35 rising 7th and 8th graders at Camp Launch held on the College of William and Mary Campus (07/23/16). Camp Launch is a non-profit, residential, STEM-focused program for gifted 7th and 8th grade students from all socioeconomic status backgrounds that make a positive impact on these students' lives and encourage more of them to go into STEM fields.

    In November 2016, he participated as a judge and abstract reviewer at the 2016 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). The 2016 conference had 1,300 poster presentations and 120 oral presentations. He also presented a paper titled, "Size-Controlled Synthesis and Characterization of Aqueous Silver Nanoparticles". (Poster) at PhysCon 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress in San Francisco, CA, in November 2016. (Student received PhysCon MSI/HBCU Travel Award). He made another presentation at the Spring meeting of VAS entitled "Nanotechnology research for undergraduate students at Hampton University" coauthored by M. Roots.
  • Dr. Brandy Young-Gqamana attended the Annual Meeting of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), which took place in Raleigh, N.C., November 8-11, 2016. The conference had a special workshop designed to establish "Professional Collaboratives" in the chemical sciences. This served as an opportunity for early career professionals to gain exposure to new and unique ways of integrating teaching and research. Dr. Young-Gqamana was accompanied by Ms. Adaya Sturkey, a Junior Chemistry student.
  • Dr. Isai Urasa was reappointed to the International Activities Committee of the American Chemical Society. He was also appointed to a Task Force to explore the establishment of Project SEED activities at international sites. Project SEED was established by the American Chemical Society 50 years ago to provide precollege students from economically disadvantaged communities with summer research internships opportunities. The plan is to extend this program to selected global sites.

    Dr. Urasa presented a paper titled, "Global Perspectives of Citizen Science", Division of International Activities, American Chemical Society National Meeting, April 2- 6, 2017, San Francisco, CA, Paper Number IAC 20.
  • Dr. Eric Hayes continued his association with us as Adjunct Professor.
  • Dr. Mohammad Malik was granted one-year faculty appointment for 2016-2017. Dr. Malik holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Zhejiang University, Beijing, China, and a Master's in Organic Chemistry from Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Visiting Professor

Dr. Gail Hughes of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, visited the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry (June 29th, 2016), where she talked about research interests and programs of her university with a view to exploring possible future collaborations with Hampton University.

Special Announcement...

Dr. Isai Urasa is transitioning from Chair of the Department to full time teaching and research in his Water Quality laboratory.

On May 17, 2017, Dr. Isai Urasa announced to the faculty and staff of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry that he would be stepping aside as Chair of the department effective May 31, 2017. He presented a booklet entitled "Chemistry at Hampton University 1982-2017", which chronicled the department's history and highlighted the many significant accomplishments that have been made during his time as Chair.

In his honor and in recognition of his long-standing leadership, the department surprised him with a tribute at the end of the year departmental "Reflections" meeting. Emceed by Dr. Willie Darby and attended by the Dean of the School of Science Dr. Calvin Lowe, invited Chairs and department faculty and staff, the ceremony included a presentation by Dr. Charles Bump from the Hampton Roads local section of the American Chemical Society and a presentation of a memory book which included a departmental proclamation, pictures of graduating classes and MHIRT participants along with personal reflections and pictures from the current faculty and staff. Sincere thanks to Dr. Urasa for his many years of leadership and guidance and the department looks forward to breaking new ground in the future.

Alumni are invited to contact Dr. Isai Urasa at 757-727-5398 or via email at

A surprize tribute to Dr. Urasa during the departmental reflections meeting.
A surprize tribute to Dr. Urasa during the departmental reflections meeting.
A surprize tribute to Dr. Urasa during the departmental reflections meeting.