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Jianhua Ren
Department Chair
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211

Alumni Insights

The Department of Chemistry is proud of the hundreds of living alumni who have their degree in Chemistry from University of the Pacific. Take a look at where some of them have taken their Chemistry degrees since they graduated from Pacific.

Alec Follmer '14

PhD Candidate in Biophysical Chemistry

Chemistry alumnus Alec Follmer

A biochemistry major, Alec Follmer graduated from the Department of Chemistry in Spring 2014. He currently lives in Irvine, California, where he is working on his PhD in Biophysical Chemistry at the University of California at Irvine. "I love my job," Alec says. "I get to go to work everyday and learn about the subject I love. While it can be very challenging at times, experimental results and discovering something novel makes it all worth it. I also really enjoy the teaching aspect of graduate school and feel blessed to be able to give back some of the knowledge that so many of the Pacific faculty took the time to share with me."

To prospective students, Alec advises them to work hard, get involved in research, and, when in doubt, reach out to the faculty. They are there to facilitate your success.

His favorite memory from UOP is definitely a tie. Alec recalls that, "As a member of the Men's Water Polo team, our team going to the NCAA D1 Championship during my final year was definitely a major highlight and during my time as president of Alpha Chi Sigma, the chemistry fraternity, being able to kick off the Stauffer Challenge grant with an initial donation of $10,000 was a truly memorable experience. Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger!"

Patrick Batoon '11

R&D Physical & Analytical Chemist at Agilent Technologies Inc.

Chemistry alumnus Patrick BatoonPatrick Batoon graduated in 2011 with a BS in Biochemistry, and in Summer 2016 with a PhD in Biochemistry with a concentration in Bioanalytical and Physical chemistry, obtaining both degrees at Pacific. He currently works as a R&D Physical & Analytical Chemist at Agilent Technologies Inc. He works with a team of engineers, physicists, and chemists to design, build, and test instruments related to detecting molecules used in the life sciences, environmental, drug development, forensics, and other related fields of chemical analysis. "I like that my work is multidisciplinary with different kinds of people of different specialties and backgrounds. We apply our knowledge from our respective fields to work towards a common goal and educate one another during the process," Patrick says.

To undergraduate students who are interested in studying chemistry, Patrick advises them to look at Pacific's research program, and to find a graduate student mentor. He adds, "Also know that there are other cool fields in chemistry than biochemistry. On a personal note - in terms of my academics, I was a mediocre student at best; however the mentorship that I received from the graduate students and professors really inspired me to work my best in my chemistry subjects and focus on deep understanding instead of superficially studying for the grade." For graduate students, Patrick says that Pacific's graduate education in chemistry is very special because of how the program is structured, as it is technically under the Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences umbrella. "This enables you to obtain a wide breadth of information from your colleagues who study different but related fields. A small chemistry department trains you to wear many hats; while you have a declared specialty as your concentration, you'll be learning many valuable skills that will give you a huge advantage in the workforce."

His favorite memories from Pacific involve the times where he was sent to different places in the US and Europe to do research or present his data. "For example, my undergraduate senior year I was sent to a national conference in Denver, CO. Every year after that in my graduate studies I was sent to the same conference at Vancouver, Minneapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis, and San Antonio, I was also able to do work at the Free Electron Laser for Infrared Experiments (FELIX) laboratory in The Netherlands to do cutting edge spectroscopy-mass spectrometry research," Patrick says.

Despite how small Pacific's Department of Chemistry is, with only 13 professors and about 20-25 graduate students, it is a powerhouse of research and each professor is very well known in their respective fields. Patrick says that the program prepares you for whatever career step you choose next; whether it be a professional/vocational school, graduate school, or straight into the workforce.


  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - Farah Shaheen 2011 

    As a biochemistry student at the University of the Pacific, I had an incredible experience. From the very beginning, all of my professors in the chemistry department have been very supportive. Whenever I needed to talk to any of them, whether it was about academics or my future goals, they would always be there to offer advice and encouragement. Through classes such as Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Organic Chemistry, I learned to think about things from different angles and gained a greater appreciation for the field itself. Because of my desire to take learning beyond the textbook, I became an undergraduate researcher during my junior year, which was a phenomenal experience. I had the privilege of working closely with Dr. Xue and the graduate students, and I learned more than I ever could have imagined. Everyone was very helpful and friendly, where I really felt like a member of the team. I was able to present our work at the ACS Conference and at PURCC, where my team received the award for Best Poster. When I learned that our paper had been accepted for publication, I was thrilled.  In the end, I feel that the outstanding education that I received at Pacific is what led me to be accepted into my top choice for medical school.

    Farah Shaheen (B.S. Biochemistry; graduated in 2011 and will be attending UC Davis School of Medicine)

  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - Mik Minier 2010 

    "...Chemistry at Pacific is of top quality. Unlike other small chemistry departments, Pacific's chemistry department has a graduate program. This means that the professors are active in research and that undergraduate students have the opportunity to join a lab and try research. That alone outweighs the typical disadvantages small departments have with limited course offerings. Pacific also stresses the importance of quality teaching and as a result, the chemistry department houses faculty who care about their student's learning progress. Because of all the above, being a student in this department has more than adequately prepared me to pursue graduate studies in chemistry. I joined a research group at the beginning of my junior year and got hands on research experience in organic synthesis and biochemistry. Since then I got the opportunity to present my findings at ACS meetings and I also got published. I was able to learn tremendous amounts of chemistry in the rigorous courses I took and I have found every professor in the department approachable and friendly. The preparation Pacific's chemistry department gave me was good enough to get me accepted into the top graduate chemistry programs at Stanford and MIT..."
    Mik Minier (B.S. Biochemistry B.A. Mathematics and Asian Studies; attending MIT starting fall 2010 as a chemistry PhD candidate)

  • Chemistry Graduate Testimonial - Matthew Curtis 2009  "...I have spent my four years of undergraduate studies at Pacific and because of my experiences here I decided to stay for graduate school studies in Chemistry. With the connections I have made with my professors and the research opportunities I have been exposed to it was an easy decision to continue my education at Pacific, even though in high school I never thought I would attempt a Ph.D..."
    M. Curtis (Ph. D. candidate, 2009)
  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - Nikmala Tan 2008  "...My experience as a Biochemistry student at the University of the Pacific has influenced my life tremendously. As a freshman, I knew I wanted a career in science, but had not yet decided on which field. My interactions with the chemistry professors have helped influence my choice to pursue a career in pharmaceutical research. I gained the interest in research while doing undergraduate research at the Chemistry Department. As a part of my undergraduate education I have been taking part in biochemical research as well as organic synthesis. This research involves the synthesis and testing of new glycosidase inhibitors, which can potentially be used to synthesize future drugs against cancers, diabetes and other diseases. I have learned how to utilize current instrumental methods such as NMR and Mass Spectrometry. The research experience is very important because of my aspirations of becoming an industrial pharmacist and pharmaceutical researcher."
    Nikmala Tan (graduated 2008, UOP Pharmacy School)
    Nikmala Tan at the fume hood
  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - Chenee SanMarcos 2008  "...I was not really a fan of atoms and molecules when I finished my high school chemistry class because everything seemed so abstract and vague until I became an American Chemical Society (ACS) Project SEED Student for two summers at the University of the Pacific and worked with professors who are very intelligent and  enthusi- astic about what they do. It was during my Project SEED experience when everything about atoms and molecules became interesting. I saw atomic and molecular motions via computer animations. I was able to synthesize compounds and purify them through distillation and other methods. I loved the experience and wanted to repeat it, and I thought to myself that I will only be able to do those things and work with the same professors if I go in the chemistry field and go to Pacific and I did! As biochemistry freshman major, I have not repeated those experiences yet, not just yet, but I'm getting there! =)..."
    Chenee San Marcos (2008)
  • Chemistry High School Testimonial - Ekeoma Nwadibia 2007  "...My experience in chemistry at the University of the Pacific was great! The Chemistry Department is like a small community: not only do students get to know one another, but the faculty also get to know the students, and vice versa. The community at UOP and my wonderful research experience there was a major influence in my decision to study undergraduate chemistry..."
    Ekeoma Nwadibia (ACS-SEED student 2004/05, UCLA chemistry B. S., Columbia University - Chemistry Ph. D. candidate 2011)
  • Chemistry Undergraduate Testimonial - John Tan 2006  "...Chemistry is a way of life; a mindset taught through understanding and conceptual learning. I can say with strong conviction that my didactic and research experience fully prepared me to take on any research challenges and conceptual problems - even if the problem is not directly related to chemistry. That is the strong educational foundation set forth by my educational experiences. Pacific's unique approach and very small classes have provided a more intimate learning environment, where experienced lecturers can inspire thought through vibrant discussion and encourages critical thinking. Combined with a myriad of research opportunities, I was able to build upon what I learned in the didactic setting and apply my knowledge to real-world problems. However, there are many opportunities available at Pacific as an undergraduate. I have attended conferences, presented poster presentations, and published papers; these opportunities would have not been possible without the support of the chemistry department. These experiences are all part of the bigger picture; I had the opportunity to contribute original knowledge to the scientific community and become well prepared for a post-graduate program.  As a graduate of University of the Pacific's Biochemistry program, I take my experiences with me to my current endeavors at UCLA School of Dentistry as a pre-doctoral student and as a dental materials researcher. From my personal experiences, University of the Pacific's Biochemistry program sets a very strong precedence in building a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Even today, I can see the definite impact of my experiences on how I perceive the physical world..."
    John Tan (graduated 2006, UCLA Dental School)
    John Tan
  • Chemistry Graduate Testimonial - Haiqiang Yu 2006 

    "...Studying chemistry at Pacific was a highly rewarding experience for me. I enjoyed the close interaction with faculty and fellow graduate students, the great location of the campus and the opportunities and resources available in Northern California. The sharing of resources, physical and philosophical, is a great strength of Chemistry Department of University of the Pacific. As an analytical chemistry student, I was provided with the opportunity of working on a wide range of MS instruments and other analytical instruments like HPLC, NMR and IR..."
    Dr. Haiqiang Yu at Rockefeller University, NY



    Dr. Haiqiang Yu (Research Support Specialist, Proteomic Resources Center, The Rockefeller University, NY; currently Waters Corporation) (graduated 2007)