The Forensic Chemistry program at Ohio University was established by Professor James Y. Tong.  Dr. Tong (Professor Emeritus) received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC Berkeley in 1950 and 1951, respectively. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and did post-doctoral work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He joined the faculty at Ohio University in 1957.  In 1976, he received approval by the Ohio Board of Trustees for the B.S. in Forensic Chemistry program.  At this time, he also created a new statewide organization with all of the crime directors in Ohio, and named it the Forensic Science Institute of Ohio (FSIO).

Between 1976 and 1997 Dr. Tong advised all of the forensic chemistry majors at Ohio University, graduating 150 students.

He began, and still organizes, the annual Women in Science and Technology (WISE) Program and the Ohio Chemistry Contest.  Dr. Tong established an endowed scholarship for forensic chemistry students, the James Y. and Harriet Tong Forensic Chemistry Scholarship.   He continues to take every graduating senior to dinner to celebrate their achievements.

American Board of Criminalistics
Forensic Sciences Aptitude Test (FSAT) rankings

Ohio University's Forensic Chemistry Graduating Class (2015) took the American Board of Criminalistics Forensic Sciences Aptitude Test as part of the program evaluation. The aptitude test is a broad test of forensic science and not specific to forensic chemistry. The department paid for the examination and 7/8 of our students participated.

Ohio University was ranked 3rd out of the thirteen undergraduate programs that participated; a total of 103 students were tested.

The following table shows how our students ranked compared to the other participating undergraduate schools.

Lab Operations
Latent Prints
Crime Scene
Pattern Evidence
Evidence Handling
Fire Debris
Quest. Documents
Forensic Biology
General Science
Trace Evidence

What are our Alumni doing now?
Our first B.S. forensic chemistry student graduated in 1978 and as of Fall Semester 2015, 367 students have graduated from the program.  There were 119 graduates from 2006-2015, of which 38 replied to a recent survey (December 2015).  The responses showed that 15/38 are currently enrolled in a graduate program or have obtained a graduate degree.  M.S. and Ph.D. degrees include chemistry, biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, environmental science, toxicology, biological sciences, and pharmacology.  Other degrees obtained or being sought are MD and MBA degrees.  The responses also showed that 27/38 graduates are employed as a chemist or scientist in some capacity, with 13 of those employed in a forensic laboratory, coroner's office, or toxicology lab.  Please use this link to view some quotes from these graduates as to their current employment status.

Graduation Figure

The Department offers several competitive scholarships and awards to our undergraduate chemistry majors. Some scholarships/awards are specific to our forensic chemistry majors and others are open to all chemistry majors.

Awards/Scholarships open to forensic chemistry majors only:

James Y. and Harriet Tong Forensic Chemistry Scholarship

One monetary award and certificate to a student at any rank based on academic achievement.

2006 Cynthia Cipolla
2007 Cynthia Cipolla
2009 Abigail Hunt
2010 Rachael Kyper
2011 Ashley March
2012 David Griffiths
2013 Jenna Silverman
2014 Kimberly Belvin
2015 Anne Marie Esposito
2016 Andrew Petry

James Y. and Harriet Tong Forensic Chemistry Award for students showing aptitude as a forensic chemist.
One monetary award and certificate to each freshman, sophomore, junior and senior based on academic achievement.

Previous winners (Click images to enlarge)
2006 2007 2010 2011
Tong award winners 2006

Tong award winners 2007 Tong award winners 2010 Tong award winners 2010

2006 Freshman: Cynthia Cipolla; Sophomore:  Dawn Rivard; Junior:  Crystal Simson; Senior: Kate DeRhodes
2007 Freshman: Jennifer Colla; Sophomore: Megan Wenning; Junior: Danielle Melaragno; Senior: Crystal Simson
2008 Freshman: Rachael Kyper; Sophomore: Abigail Hunt; Junior: Cynthia Cipolla; Senior: Max McCracken
2009 Freshman: Ashley March; Sophomore: Rachael Kyper; Junior: Abigail Hunt; Senior: Cynthia Cipolla and Megan Wenning
2010 Freshman: Nathanael Hopkins; Sophomore: Ashley March; Junior: Rachael Kyper; Senior: Abigail Hunt
2011 Freshman: Jenna Silverman; Sophomore: David Griffiths; JuniorAshley March; SeniorRachael Kyper
2012 Freshman: Matthew Dill; Sophomore: Jenna Silverman; Junior: David Griffiths; Senior: Ashley March
2013 Freshman: Bradley Sprague; Sophomore: Matthew Dill; Junior: Jenna Silverman; Senior: Sara Stanish
2014 Freshman: Anne Marie Esposito; Sophomore: Jennifer Baker; Junior: Mary Bouschard; Senior: Jenna Silverman
2015 Freshman: Andrew Petry; Sophomore: Anne Marie Esposito; Junior: Mary Bouschard; Senior: Matt Dill
2016 Freshman: Amanda McKeon; Sophomore: Andrew Petry; Junior: Anne Marie Esposito; Senior: Mary Bouschard

Awards/Scholarships open to all chemistry majors:

American Chemical Society Analytical Chemistry Award for a student showing aptitude as an analytical chemist. Recipients are typically research-active and have high GPAs. 

Undergraduate Research Award  for a student in any rank who demonstrates excellence as a researcher. Recipients typically attend graduate school in a chemical science.

Jesse Day Undergraduate Award for potential as a chemist.

Robert K. Ingham Award for excellence in chemistry.

Upper Ohio Valley Section of the ACS Lavalle Award for outstanding graduating senior.

C. Paul and Beth K. Stocker Scholarship

Helen Hoover Memorial Scholarship

The Ewers Scholarship

The Hiram Roy Wilson and Alvin W. and Mae S Carlson Scholarships

Nicholas Gecsy Chemistry Scholarship

Ohio University Chemistry Scholarship

CRC Handbook Award

Forensic Chemistry Graduates
Graduating Classes (forensic chemistry only) (Click images to enlarge)
Fall 2015 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Forensic Chem grads Fall 2015 Forensic Chem grads 2011 Forensic Chem grads 2011 Forensic chem graduates 2010 Forensic Chemistry graduates 2009 Forensic chemistry graduates 2008 Forensic chemistry graduates 2007 Forensic chemistry graduates 2005

In addition to the forensic chemistry degree, we also offer degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, chemistry pre-pharmacy, chemistry pre-medicine and chemistry pre-dentistry. We typically have 250-350 chemistry majors at one time (283 Fall Semester 2015), making us one of the largest undergraduate programs in the state and the nation.

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