Chemistry and Geoscience
With her passion for science and science education, Professor Skalac inspires students in their classroom studies, labs and field work. She especially enjoys teaching them and helping them complete their coursework in physical sciences.
Her current specialty is secondary science education, teaching science methods for secondary teachers and supervising student teachers during their field placements in middle and high school science classrooms. She teaches general physical science to non-science majors, helping them unlock the mysteries and beauty of the natural world. She also teaches chemistry, physics, astronomy and geology to undergraduates seeking to be elementary and middle school teachers.
Currently, she is a graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, working toward a doctoral degree in natural resources and environmental sciences. She is a member of several professional organizations, including National Science Teachers Association, Illinois Science Teachers Association, Geological Society of America, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, National Earth Science Teachers Association and Affiliation of Christian Geologists.
She and her husband, Mike, build wooden kayaks together. In their leisure time, they enjoy kayaking, camping and backpacking with their two adult children, Kimberly and Eric.
Dr. Heyen joined Olivet's full-time faculty in 2016. He serves as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Geosciences. With more than 25 years of experience as a university professor, he teaches general chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry and introductory chemistry.
During his career, he has completed three sabbaticals focused on biochemistry, organic synthesis and chemical education. One of his favorite professional accomplishments is his work in collaboration with a group of biochemistry professors to improve biochemical pedagogy. He is a member of the American Chemical Society.
Outside the classroom and lab, Dr. Heyen enjoys music, especially vocal and piano, and is an accomplished musician. He has also served as a worship leader for many years. Cooking is another of his interests, and he loves to cook all types of food. In fact, he has a poster of the periodic table of desserts and is attempting to make each one!
He and his wife, Janell, are the parents of five children: Benjamin, Emma, Elise, Claire and MaryElena.
One of his favorite Bible verses is Romans 8:31b, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
With her experience in teaching college-level chemistry for more than nine years, Dr. Harper shares her knowledge and insights with students in introductory, general and physical chemistry courses. She also teaches inorganic chemistry and co-teaches the instrumental methods of analysis course with Drs. Ferren and Armstrong.
A recipient of Northern Illinois University's Dissertation Completion Award (2001-2002), Dr. Harper has a passion for research. Her interests include investigations of the chemistry of the eye, particularly studies involving processes related to light and age-related visual disorders. Her article, "Studies of all-trans-retinal as a photooxidizing agent" (2001), was published in "Photochemistry and Photobiology," the journal for the American Society for Photobiology.
Dr. Harper has a large extended family living across the state of Illinois and in many other states as well. Her hobbies include working puzzles and knitting.
During Dr. Case's time as a student at Olivet, he worked as a planetarium operator and gained experience on both opto-mechanical and digital projection systems. Today, he is the director of Strickler Planetarium on Olivet's campus. He also teaches astronomy, history of science (spring 2015), Honors Program courses and Freshman Connections.
He brings his cross-disciplinary background to science instruction and planetarium show development. In 2014, he completed a doctorate degree in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Notre Dame. His doctoral dissertation is "Making Stars Physical: John Herschel's Stellar Astronomy, 1816-1871." His website is www.stephenrcase.wordpress.com.
Researching and sharing about the astronomy of Sir John Herschel — one of the most important scientists of the Victorian era — was a career-defining experience for Dr. Case. In 2018, the University of Pittsburgh Press published his first nonfiction book, Making Stars Physical: The Astronomy of Sir John Herschel. This is the first ever book-length treatment about the historically significant contributions Herschel made to astronomy.
As Olivet's planetarium director, Dr. Case oversaw the complete refurbishment and update of Strickler Planetarium from a slide-based analogue projection system to a full-dome digital system. These changes greatly enhanced the planetarium's capabilities and turned it into a powerful multimedia instructional tool.
His research has appeared in Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, Mercury, Endeavor, Annals of Science, and Zondervan’s Dictionary of Christianity and Science. He has presented his research on the history of astronomy at the Newberry Library, the History of Science Society Annual Meeting, and the Biennial Workshop on the History of Astronomy.
In 2013, Dr. Case was awarded an ISLA-Mellon grant to organize and host a conference on Evidential Reasoning in Astronomy & Cosmology on Notre Dame's campus. He also served as coordinator for the 2009 Great Lakes Planetarium Association Illinois state meeting; on the steering committee for the 2008 International Planetarium Society Conference, Chicago; and as a delegate to the 2006 National Science Foundation's National GK-12 Conference, Washington, D.C.
His interests include the historical and cultural aspects of the physical sciences, specifically the history of astronomy and changing conceptions regarding the physical nature of the stars. While working on his master's degree at the University of Mississippi, he was an NSF GK-8 fellow and conducted research on the Millington-Barnard Instrument Collection, a collection of scientific instruments assembled before the Civil War. As a member of the Center for Math and Science Education, he developed a science curriculum for area elementary and middle school classrooms. He also taught engineering courses there.
Read Dr. Case's curriculum vitae here.
Dr. Case and his wife, Christine — who is a 2005 Olivet graduate — are the parents of four children.
Dr. Carrigan joined the Olivet faculty in 2004 after completing his doctoral degree in geology at the University of Michigan. He teaches courses in mineralogy, petrology, natural resources, geochemistry, and structural geology. His courses often include exciting field trips to geologically interesting sites in Tennessee, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri and Ontario, Canada.
He enjoys working with students and helping them succeed in the classroom, the laboratory and in life. He regularly works with students in the summer on undergraduate research and with students who wish to pursue University and Departmental Honors.
Dr. Carrigan's research applies the principles of chemistry to the study of Earth processes. His focus is the application of petrology, geochronology, geochemistry, and mineral reactions to unravel problems in the Southern Appalachians. He and his students are working to better understand the tectonic processes that formed these ancient mountains.
Additionally, he is researching best practices in the teaching of mineralogy and geochemistry to undergraduate students. His master's thesis at Vanderbilt University was on basement rocks of the southern Appalachians. For his dissertation research at the University of Michigan, he traveled to the eastern Alps of Bulgaria.
He has published numerous abstracts and given talks at conferences, served as a conference session co-chair at the Geological Society of America, and has published and reviewed articles for professional Earth science journals. He is a member of the Geological Society of America, the Mineralogical Society of America, and is President of the Affiliation of Christian Geologists.
Dana, his wife, works at home raising their four young daughters, Carly, Brianna, Auriella and Corinne. They attend GatheringPoint Church of the Nazarene.
As a chemistry professor, Dr. Armstrong teaches courses, serves as a mentor of student research and does independent research. His area of specialty is organic synthesis, primarily of novel heterocyclic, organofluorine, and cyclopropyl derivatives — including, in some cases, microwave promotion.
His more recent research has included a full year of full-time sabbatical research in organic syntheses, with Nobel Laureate Dr. Herbert C. Brown and with Dr. David Nichols at Purdue University. He has also done organic synthetic research during several recent summers in large universities and one industry. That research — and research done independently at ONU, including his more recent research in the area of microwave-promoted organic syntheses, using ONU's Biotage Microwave Instrument (the "Initiator" model) — has resulted in several publications and presentations, including:
- Poster, "Anti-TB and Antibacterial Activities of Natural Products Extracts," Gordon Research Conference on Natural Products, Proctor Academy, Andover, New Hampshire, July 28 to August 2, 2013.• Travel grants from the "Center for Workshops in the Chemical Sciences" (CWCS) to attend and give oral presentations on "Undergraduate Student Research in Microwave-Promoted Organic Syntheses" at the 21st Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, University of North Texas, 2010, and at the 239th American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Francisco, 2010.
- Poster #260, "Progress Toward the Synthesis of Pentafluorosulfanyl - and Gem - Difluoro-Cyclic Compounds, Including Microwave Assistance," 19th International Symposium on Fluorine Chemistry, Jackson Hole, Wyo., 2009.
- Poster PO-22, "Progress Toward the Synthesis of Complex Fused-Ring Mesoionic Heterocycles, Including Microwave Assistance," 22nd International Congress on Heterocyclic Chemistry, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, 2009.
- "Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of Heterocyclic Compounds," Polymer Preprints, 49(2), 938-939, 2008.
- Oral Presentation #61, "Microwave-Assisted Syntheses of Heterocyclic Compounds," Division of Polymer Chemistry, 236th ACS National Meeting, August, Philadelphia, Penn., 2008.
- Invited Lecture, "Mesoionic Compounds: Definition, Syntheses and Pharmacological Activities of Selected Examples," Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2008.
- Poster # PP-17, "Investigations into 1,1,1-trifluoro-N-quinolin-8-ylmethanesulfonamide as a Potential Antibacterial Agent and Potential Therapeutic Agent for Huntington's Disease," 10th International Conference on the Chemistry of Antibiotics and other Bioactive Compounds, Vanderbilt University, 2007.
- "Pyrrole Syntheses Based on Titanium-Catalyzed Hydroamination of Diynes," Organic Letters, Vol. 6, No. 17, 2957-2960, 2004.
- "Quaternary trialkyl(polyfluoroalkyl)ammonium Salts Including Liquid Iodides," Tetrahedron Letters, 44, 9367-9370, 2003.
- Poster #11-PO-12, "Pyrrole Derivatives via Catalytic Hydroamination of 1,4- and 1,5- Diynes," 19th International Congress of Heterocyclic Chemistry, Colorado State University, 2003.
He is also doing natural products research. One of the extracts from a particular plant species, done by one of his student researchers during summer 2010, was determined to have anti-tuberculosis activity, by the Institute for Tuberculosis Research, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago. Also, extracts from several plant species were determined by Notre Dame University to have antibacterial activity against several bacterial species. Further investigations are underway.
He is an active member of the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry and the American Chemical Society, and has held offices in the ACS Northeast and Joliet Sections. He is also active in the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area, and has organized and conducted four lecture series for that organization, with the most recent one being on green chemistry in 2010. This was based on his participation in the "Green Chemistry in Education Workshop" at the University of Oregon, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and by CWCS, in 2010. He is a regular participant in the meetings of the Midwest Association of Chemistry Teachers in Liberal Arts Colleges, which seeks to improve the teaching of chemistry in the small liberal arts college/university environment.