• Overview
  • Faculty
  • Career Tracks
  • Off-Campus Study



Ripon College offers a major and minor in chemistry. The College also offers a major in chemistry-biology and a variety of pre-professional tracks in chiropractic medicine, dentistry, medical technology, allopathic and osteopathic medicine, physician assistant, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, corrective therapy, podiatry and veterinary medicine.

An experienced faculty will guide you in your personal study of matter and its transformations. The curriculum is designed to allow you to connect to other areas of studies within the sciences and beyond (medicine, material science, archaeology, engineering, etc.).

Students have ready access to essential, sophisticated instrumentation to carry out experiments and research across the gamut of organic, inorganic, analytic and physical chemistry.

Many of our chemistry graduates become doctors, dentists, college and university professors, or elementary or secondary teachers. Some go into corporate or government research. Our graduates include top-level executives, plant managers, sales managers and lawyers.


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. Staff in the Office of Constituent Engagement and Career Services help to match your interests to concrete goals and construct a plan for success, offering support through three stages of career development – planning, exploration and search. Student Support Services provides tutoring and additional academic and skill development, as well as tools to help with note-taking, exam preparation, goal-setting and time management. Mentors in the Collaborative Learning Center provide in-depth, one-on-one or group mentoring for students about class projects and college-level writing, and can share problem-solving strategies to overcome academic obstacles.

Advising at Ripon.


Colleen Byron

Colleen Byron

Professor of Chemistry, Chair of Chemistry Department, L. Leone Oyster '19 Chair in Chemistry

Dean Katahira

Dean Katahira

Professor of Chemistry

Joseph Scanlon

Joseph Scanlon

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Patrick Willoughby

Patrick Willoughby

Assistant Professor of Chemistry


Career Tracks

What can I do with a chemistry major?

An undergraduate degree in chemistry can lead to a career in agricultural chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, geochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, materials science, physical chemistry, education, polymer chemistry, healthcare and other sales and communication fields.

Alumni of our program are enrolled in a variety of graduate-level programs at some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities, including: Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Northwestern University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-Irvine, University of Oregon, Purdue University, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

Recent graduates of our program work for:

  • Aurora Medical Center
  • Aerotek Inc.
  • Ecolab Inc.
  • Eli Lilly & Company
  • Hacco
  • Sea Lion Aquatic Park
  • REM Wisconsin
  • South Central Public Health District
  • Mayo Clinic
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • San Jose State University

Job titles of recent graduates include:

  • Environmental health specialist
  • Vaccine research
  • Pool operator
  • Chemical engineer
  • Pharmacist
  • Analytical chemist
  • Sales representative
  • Post-doc researcher
  • Research assistant

Chemistry Alumni Spottlight

Matt Paquette ’12 says, “Starting in sophomore-level chemistry at Ripon, you are doing independent research, handling all the instrumentation, and actually learning to be a chemist.” That experience led to two significant research projects while he was still a Ripon undergrad. He spent one summer at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State, working on algae biofuels research. He spent another summer at the University of Massachusetts working on nano-wires for solar voltaic cells. These projects were funded by Boeing and by the National Science Foundation. He also spent a semester in Alicante, Spain, where he took classes in chemistry and politics in Spanish. In his “spare time,” he played saxophone and piano with the Ripon College Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

He plans on earning a Ph.D. at Northwestern University on his way to a career as a researcher in alternative and renewable energy.

Off-Campus Study

A substantial number of Ripon College chemistry students participate in study and research programs at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee; the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; and the University of Swansea, Wales.

Oak Ridge National Labratory

Oak Ridge National Labratory

Whether you choose a program that is international or domestic, it is an experience bound to change your view of the world. Click to learn more about Off- Campus Study and Liberal Arts In Focus at Ripon College.

Financial aid continues for students who choose to participate in an approved study-abroad program, minimizing additional expenses.