Chemistry Department

Academics | Chemistry


Ripon College offers a major and minor in Chemistry, 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, archeology, 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.



Dean Katahira

Joseph Scanlon

Patrick Willoughby




Ripon College encourages all students to embrace a Four-Year Career Development Plan. This plan is based on the premise that career planning is a development process that involves learning and decision-making over an extended period of time.

First Year

  • Incoming students are assigned a Faculty Mentor based on their interest area(s). Please see the FACULTY tab under your major area;
  • All First Year Students are required to enroll in a First Year Seminar, which is designed as a transition from high school to college learning, providing an interdisciplinary introduction to the liberal arts and the pursuit of in-depth study;
  • First Year Students are encouraged to meet the career development staff early on and complete interest and skills inventories, and self-assessment tools; and,
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks.

Third Year

  • Assume leadership positions in on-campus clubs and organizations;
  • Participate in mock interviews with the Career Development Office;
  • Attend the Wisconsin Foundation of Independent Colleges Job Fair in February and other relevant career fairs;
  • If relevant, begin to research potential graduate school programs and take the appropriate entrance exam(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Continue to build a solid network and a list of work references, and build your resume;
  • Consider off-campus study: Semester and/or alternative Spring Breaks;
  • Continue to job shadow; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Second Year

  • Get involved with on-campus clubs and organizations, athletic teams and/or intramural sports;
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks;
  • Declare a major;
  • Meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor or match your interests with a faculty member in your major department. Determine which professors have areas of expertise most similar to your interests. Talk to people in the academic department to find out about faculty research, scholarly, and creative interests;
  • Attend on-campus career workshops;
  • Work with the Career Development Office to create an approved resume;
  • Job shadow people involved in various careers and professions of interest; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Fourth Year

  • Complete a Senior Capstone/Thesis in your major area(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Perfect your interviewing skills;
  • Expand your existing network of contacts;
  • Finalize your resume and prepare cover letter;
  • Build a credential file in the Career Development Office;
  • Interview with on-campus recruiters;
  • Set-up informational interviews with target companies;
  • If relevant, apply to graduate school programs, and if necessary, re-take entrance exams; and,
  • Practice career goal-setting.


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 communications 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 Spotlight

Matt PaquetteMatt 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 financed that project. He also spent a semester in Alicante, Spain, where he took classes in chemistry and politics—in Spanish—and in his “spare time” he plays saxophone and piano with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

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


Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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.

To learn more about Off-Campus study options at Ripon, click HERE