Chemistry and Biochemistry

The College's chemistry majors and faculty

Why Study Chemistry or Biochemistry at K?

Close relationships with faculty, hands-on research experience, and a broad focus on the role of chemistry in society prepare K chemistry and biochemistry majors for meaningful scientific careers.

K offers a Major in Chemistry, a Major in Biochemistry, and a Concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Concentration.

As a chemistry student, you will learn and research closely with faculty to gain a molecular view of the world. Through your courses, labs, and completion of your Senior Integrated Project, you will gain scientific literacy, presentation skills, and the ability to conduct experiments and draw conclusions that advance the field. This knowledge will also be put into the broader perspective of how chemicals and chemical waste affect the environment and society.

The department imparts these lessons through learner-focused and evidence-based teaching and lab methods that are designed to help you engage with the material in an educational, fun, and safe manner. By taking a student-centric approach to teaching, the department empowers you to learn complex subjects—like Organic Chemistry; Thermodynamics and Kinetics; Biochemistry; and Principles of Medicinal Chemistry—and gain the skills necessary to start your career. 

Our chemistry alumni are prepared to go straight into the workforce in academic, pharmaceutical, public health, forensic science, and other chemical sectors or to continue their educational journey in graduate school. Notably, Kalamazoo College ranks in the top 2% of universities producing alumni who go on to complete research-based doctoral programs

Note: The Chemistry and Biochemistry majors are two separate programs housed within the same department. Due to the significant overlap in their programming and courses, students cannot pursue degrees in both chemistry and biochemistry.

What can you do with a chemistry or biochemistry degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our chemistry alumni.


  • Medical Doctor
  • Lab Manager
  • Professor
  • Research and Development
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Quality Assurance and Control


  • Pfizer
  • Stryker
  • Perrigo
  • Cargill
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation

Graduate Schools

  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Chicago
  • Northwestern University

Program Spotlights

A student and professor in a chemistry lab

Conduct meaningful research 

At K, we are passionate about research and invite you to work alongside your professors in their labs investigating supramolecular chemistry, photoactive complexes of metals, antimicrobial activity, biosensing, protein manipulation, genome engineering and more! Outside of K, you are encouraged to pursue internships in different industries, academia and government to gain relevant experience and find your passions. We see our students as true collaborators, and their insights help advance the field; many of our students are even invited to present their research and network at regional, national and international conferences.

Join a fun community of chemists 

The department prioritizes building personal connections on campus and within the broader scientific community. Kalamazoo is home to many chemists across academia (WMU and K) and the private sector (Pfizer and Stryker), and to help you foster professional relationships, the College collaborates with the Kalamazoo Section of the American Chemical Society to host speed networking, seminars, and other events. On campus, you will get to know your fellow classmates and professors on a human level as you have fun at mini golf tournaments, escape rooms, alumni events, and other excursions!

Chemistry faculty in Alice in Wonderland Halloween costumes

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor


Ella Kelly

Ella Kelly (She/Her)

Major: Chemistry

Minors: French and Math

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

The staff is the best thing about the department, everyone there truly wants you to succeed and you can tell.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?

I have been able to explore some random classes along the way that on the surface don’t have a whole lot to do with chemistry. For example, I have been able to take an art history course, a political science course, an English course, and enough French courses to add it as a minor.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I am doing lab-based REU [Research Experiences for Undergraduates] this summer with Northwestern University. I do research in Dr. Furchak’s lab, and I briefly played soccer at K.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

Investigating the effect of crystallinity on interactions in organic mixed conductors.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

Graduate School.


Ella Szczublewski

Ella Szczublewski (She/Her/Hers)

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Psychology

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

The professors that make up the chemistry and biochemistry department have to be the best thing about the department.

What has been your favorite class at K?

My favorite classes at K have been Biochemistry I and II primarily because of the exceptional professor, Dr. Truss. Under her guidance, I discovered my depth of knowledge and was able to excel in various assessments and strengthen my confidence in the subject matter. The class itself involved engaging lectures, thought-provoking discussions and a warm supportive atmosphere that fostered not only learning but also created lasting memories filled with laughter.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I am a part of the Women’s Golf Team, co-leader of Sisters in Science, was a SURF [Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship] student at Wayne State University, a TA grader for biostatistics, volunteered at Reading and Writing Kalamazoo, created a peer support group, created a pickleball club, played indoor and outdoor IM volleyball, and was a volunteer with First Tee.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

I am working at a pharmaceutical company this summer as a compounding technician. Based on the company’s policies, I will see if I am able to write my SIP on this. If not, I will be researching in Dr. Tresca’s lab continuing on peptoid and urea synthesis.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

My current career aspiration after K is to take a gap year between medical school. In that gap year, I hope to build my resume, continue hospice volunteering, become an MA or scribe, and spend some time traveling and exploring.

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department News