Noel Craig

In his element: A Phoenix soars worldwide because of his Chemistry career

After graduating from UW-Green Bay with a Chemistry degree and laboratory experience in 2016, Noel Craig is in his element at SEAL Analytical—a world leader in design, development and the manufacturer of equipment that aids in analyzing of materials and compounds specifically for environmental applications.

It was perhaps a bit nostalgic for Craig to be back at his alma mater recently, helping to set up new equipment in some of the same lab spaces he worked at while he was a student. His return was to install a new water analyzer and train students how to use it in Assistant Professor Mike Holly’s (Water Science) labs.

Craig’s story is not unlike other students who attend. He had different ambitions when he started at UW-Green Bay…

“I actually wanted to be a dentist! I had a chance to shadow some dental students and I didn’t fare too well. Fortunately, I was taking Organic Chemistry during that semester and fell in love with it. I loved the challenge of balancing an equation and solving the pathway of a mechanism.”

He had many opportunities to explore his new-found passion.

At UW-Green Bay, Craig worked alongside Prof. Kevin Fermanich and a graduate student to collect freshwater samples. “The samples collected were from freshwater streams in the Green Bay Watershed via automated samplers,” he said. “Commonly the water would become very turbid due to rain and we wanted this to test for Total Phosphate. The Total Phosphate was found by performing a Kjeldahl Acid Digestion on the samples and analyzing them colormetrically—which is what it sounds like: the more phosphate in the sample, the more color that would be formed during the analysis.”

After a couple of months, he was able to assist graduate students with their research. He started his own research project, finding the different levels of Water Extractable Phosphorus in soils from different types of tilled farm fields.  He found a relationship between less tilling and less water extractable phosphorus.

Craig says he can’t thank Prof. Fermanich enough for the opportunity and experiences he gave during his time as a laboratory technician. And it certainly helps him with his current role at SEAL—helping customers with the work they do in their labs, troubleshooting their chemistry and instrumentation over the phone or e-mail. This can sometimes take just a couple of minutes or it will take all day. When the questions are a bit more complex, it makes this part of the job extremely rewarding.

During the pandemic he also leads installs and trainings virtually.  The instrument for UWGB that was manufactured by SEAL Analytical is shipped to the customer’s lab and a virtual training is scheduled for one to three days depending on the customer’s prior knowledge.  The first day is spent unpacking the instrument, installing the software, running diagnostic testing, and giving an overview of the hardware.  The next couple of days are spent going over what they would like to analyze like Nitrate, Phosphate, and others.

Craig wanted to work for SEAL for many reasons.

“My drive to constantly challenge myself and work for a company where I’m recognized as a person and not just a number,” he said. “The travel that I’m able to do for installations and trainings is a great perk. Before starting at SEAL, I hadn’t even left the country. Now, I have traveled to Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and almost every state.”

“I never stop learning! I’ve learned so much about engineering.  A majority of my work is with chemical instrumentation.  This instrumentation requires an understanding of electronics, physics, software, and chemistry.”

His advice to current students is to take advantage of the opportunities and resources that are available at the University, including clubs. While it was difficult to push himself to join the clubs that were available on campus, they led to leadership opportunities, which he says kick-started the skills he uses daily. They also led to friends that he will have for the rest of his life.

Story by Charlotte Berg, intern, Office of Marketing and University Communication

UW-Green Bay chemistry student Alexis Miller thanks professors and staff for assisting in online learning transition

Although UW-Green Bay is intending to be open in fall and welcoming faculty, staff and students back on campus, some classes originally scheduled for in-person instruction will be moving online or having online aspects to them for the safety of the UW-Green Bay community. Current UW-Green Bay students who transitioned to online learning in Spring 2020 demonstrated that they are resilient problem-solvers and describe their experiences while providing some advice to future students…

Alexis Miller is a sophomore majoring in Chemistry.

Alexis Miller

“I’m going to be honest, I was nervous and worried for the online learning. I had never done an online course before, but I am so thankful for the faculty at UWGB. Every professor that I had was very helpful with this new way of learning. They gave endless support and help and made sure that we as students knew that. Although we weren’t in a classroom setting anymore, the staff still had made sure that we understood the information of the course. Many of my professors provided problems and videos to help expand my knowledge of the topic. The professors also responded to any questions via email or canvas very quickly which helped a lot.”

Faculty note: Assistant Prof. Mandeep Singh Bakshi publishes article

Assistant Prof. Mandeep Singh Bakshi (Chemistry, NAS) recently published an article in the “International Journal of Biological Macromolecules.” The article is titled, Photophysical behavior of heme group: Unfolding of hemoglobin and myoglobin in the presence of Gemini surfactants of different molecular architectures.” This work highlights the photophysical behavior of hemoglobin and myoglobin to predict their interactions with complex biological molecules.

UW-Green Bay’s Associate Prof. Debra Pearson feeds the world with knowledge | The COMM Voice

Students with the COMM Voice recently wrote a piece on and interviewed UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Debra Pearson (Chemistry) and how she travels across the world to educate women in the sciences. Read more here. Story by UW-Green Bay students Lorrigan Puls, Grace Merkt and Travis Boulanger.

Photo with graphic title picturing Senior Lecturer Nydia Villanueva preps for an experiment on quantitative analysis in the chemistry lab at UW-Green bay, as she gets ready to teach students in Principals of Chemistry II Lab at UW-Green Bay.

Video: Teaching Chemistry remotely, Nydia Villanueva

Here’s an example of teaching remotely. Senior lecturer Nydia Villanueva (NAS) preps for an experiment on quantitative analysis in the Chemistry Lab on the Green Bay Campus. Her students are taking Principals of Chemistry II Lab remotely.

Here she records the experiment and posts the video online.

Video by Sue Pischke, Marketing and University Communication

Save the date: UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus hosts 18th annual ‘Cool Chemistry’ shows, April 30

Manitowoc, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus will be hosting two free Cool Chemistry shows on Thursday, April, 30, 2020 at the Manitowoc Campus University Theatre. The first show will begin at 4:30 p.m. for young scientists ages three to eight years old, followed by one at 6:30 p.m. for kids ages nine and up.

The Cool Chemistry shows feature explosions, color changing solutions, solid foams, dry ice fog, fire and even more explosions! Doors open 45 minutes prior to each show. Only 350 people will be admitted to each show. Each show runs 45-60 minutes. Families are asked to attend only one show. For a chance to be a volunteer participant, pick up a ticket at the door. Also, after each show, attendees will be able to make their own slime!

UW-Green Bay Manitowoc Campus Prof. Amy Kabrhel leads the show each year, now in its 18th year.

“This will be the 18th year for Cool Chemistry which began in 2003 as only one show with 100 attendees,” Kabrhel said. “It has expanded each year, eventually reaching a point where two shows were required to accommodate everyone that wanted to attend—now about 400 to 450 people each year between the two shows.

She says organizers try and change what night the show is offered so that families with particular obligations can attend every few years. For more information, please contact Amy Kabrhel at kabrhela@uwgb.edu or 920-683-2746.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus has served the lakeshore of eastern Wisconsin for more than 50 years, helping generations of students to start their path toward a bachelor’s degree. Nestled on 40 acres along the breathtaking Lake Michigan shoreline, the Manitowoc Campus offers hands-on instruction from internationally respected professors and a start on more than 200 academic programs within the UW System. Community members enjoy concerts and lectures, attend art and theater performances and cheer for their favorite athletic teams. The campus and community celebrated the opening of a $7-million renovation project in February 2018 featuring state-of-the-art updates to the library, a new science commons and renovations to art studios, science labs and classrooms.

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Faculty note: Assistant Profs. Mandeep Singh Bakshi and Georgette Moyle-Heyrman publish article

Assistant Profs. Mandeep Singh Bakshi (Chemistry, NAS) and Georgette Moyle-Heyrman (Human Biology) recently published an article in ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. The article is titled, “Functionalized Iron Oxide–Metal Hybrid Nanoparticles for Protein Extraction from Complex Fluids.” This work demonstrates that the hybrid nanomaterials are much more efficient in extracting protein fractions from complex biological fluids in comparison to pure nanomaterials with applications in biotechnology. The article can be read here