Accomplished Alumni Present Talks at Spencer Symposium

Feb 3, 2020

by Sara Ramick '20

On Jan. 31, 2020, Florida Southern College’s Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics hosted its 10th Annual Dr. John Spencer Symposium, which is held in honor of late FSC professor Dr. Jack Spencer. To celebrate the Symposium’s milestone anniversary, six alumni were invited to present on topics related to their respective professions in the fields of chemistry and healthcare.

Spencer speakers

“Chemistry in Clinical Medicine”

Dr. Heidi Peterson Leftwich ’03 

Dr. Leftwich, assistant professor of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, discussed how the study of chemistry plays an integral role in caring for high-risk pregnancies, based on her experiences in the field of maternal-fetal medicine. Dr. Leftwich emphasized the importance of understanding basic chemistry, to serve as a backbone in the study of clinical medicine.

“Chemistry in Healthcare: Beyond the Doctor’s Office”

Sarah Grossman Moehling ’12

Ms. Moehling, a senior project manager at Beckman Coulter, talked about the importance of  behind-the-scenes work conducted by clinical laboratories in the healthcare industry, and how chemistry is utilized to obtain results. She discussed her career path in healthcare and how she has applied her chemistry degree in various aspects of her work.

“Using a Chemistry Degree to Help Feed the World”

Aaron Nelson ’09

In his lecture, Mr. Nelson conveyed the importance of the practical application of fundamental skills and personal perseverance in connection with his own career at fertilizer industry conglomerate Arkema-ArrMaz. He is committed to optimizing process performance and product efficiency for customers through his experiences as a research and development chemist in the fertilizer industry.

“Chemistry and Safety: How the Two Worlds Collide”

Cathy Cherenfant St Louis ’07

In 2016, Nova Southeastern University introduced its Environmental Health and Safety Department, which promotes the development and maintenance of programs to prevent safety and health hazards on its campus. Ms. St Louis, an environmental health and safety specialist, discussed how basic chemistry knowledge can help reduce significant amounts of hazardous waste, and how a culture of safety amongst researchers was established at the school.

“Non-Contrast MRI Image: How Good Is Radiology Without Contrast?”

Dr. Jonathan Revels ’08

As the demand for advanced medical imaging has increased, so has the need for reduced exam costs and faster report interpretation. Dr. Revels, assistant professor of radiology at the University of New Mexico Medical School, reviewed options for non-contrast MRI examinations which are commonly used in clinical practice today, as well as the success of non-contrast examinations in oncolic screening.

“Women in Medicine and Dentistry”

Dr. Jennifer Woerner ’02

Although more women are entering STEM fields than in previous years, there continues to be a scarcity in numbers and a lack of female leadership within these fields. Dr. Woerner noted the hurdles that women in dentistry and medicine continue to face, also discussing the social obligation to diversify both fields by mentoring young women and utilizing tools to overcome the current obstacles.