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Alumni News


Seton Hill University Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jonathan Moerdyk, Ph.D., has been named one of the 30 Under 30 in science by Forbes magazine for his research involving developing organic compounds that imitate reactive properties of metals. 

“Jonathan Moerdyk’s recognition by Forbes as one of its 30 Under 30 in science is an extraordinary accomplishment, and the entire Seton Hill University community extends congratulations to our colleague and friend,” said Mary C. Finger, Ed.D., Seton Hill University president. “Seton Hill students benefit from having such a skilled researcher and well-regarded scholar as their teacher, who will guide them through their own scientific exploration.” 

“I am deeply honored and humbled by this recognition,” Dr. Moerdyk said. “It is wonderful to see the research I was involved in continue to receive national and international attention. I am grateful to Forbes for recognizing me among a tremendous group of young scientists from institutions such as Columbia University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania.” 

“Dr. Moerdyk is a rising star in the field of chemistry, and we are excited that he is a part of our community,” added Susan Yochum, SC, Ph.D., chair of Seton Hill’s Division of Natural and Health Sciences. “His research background and his appreciation for the value of a liberal arts education make him well-suited to teach at Seton Hill.” 

Dr. Moerdyk joined the Seton Hill faculty in fall 2014 after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Texas. His doctoral research focused on developing carbon-based molecules that can mimic the reactive nature of metals but can be less expensive, more renewable and less toxic. 

“The idea was ‘how do we design a carbon-based molecule that has the reactivity of a metal but also make the compound stable enough that you could bottle it and put it on a shelf,’” Dr. Moerdyk said. 

His research in this area led to his invitation to the 2013 Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting, which brought together Nobel Laureates and the next generation of leading scientists and researchers in Lindau, Germany to share their scientific knowledge and vision. He has also been credited on 18 peer-reviewed publications (11 as first author) and was previously named to the 30 Under 30 Scientific American list. 

Dr. Moerdyk, a native of Michigan, received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Hope College, a liberal arts institution in Holland, Mich. While at Hope College, he was named a Goldwater Scholar, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar and an Eli Lilly Foundation Research Fellow. 

Dr. Moerdyk’s undergraduate experience studying chemistry with a liberal arts focus led him to want to teach at Seton Hill. 

“I was looking to teach at a university where I could conduct some research, but where the focus was really on the students,” Dr. Moerdyk said. “Seton Hill invites the kind of scientific inquiry and creative thinking that I experienced as an undergraduate student.” 

Dr. Moerdyk expects to extend his research experience from Texas to novel carbon-based systems during the 2015 semester while continuing to teach organic chemistry courses for chemistry majors as well as general chemistry courses for Seton Hill physician assistant, nutrition and dietetics, and exercise science students.



Friday, January 30, 2015 7:54:00 AM

Writing Popular Fiction Alumnus Wins Prize, Contract for Debut Novel
John Fortunato '14, a graduate of Seton Hill's Writing Popular Fiction program, has been awarded the Tony Hillerman Prize for his novel, "Dark Reservations." The prize is given to the best debut mystery novel set in the southwestern United States. Fortunato's prize includes a contract with St. Martin's Press for publication of his novel.

Saturday, January 24, 2015 12:24:00 PM

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