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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Rotheiser Dance Team Football game
  • Rotheiser and Dance Team
  • Rotheiser and poster at conference
  • Rotheiser and lab friends

Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Rotheiser

Jessica Rotheiser graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Criminal Justice. She is truly grateful for the diverse and unique opportunities within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and beyond at the University of South Carolina.

My decision to major in chemistry was initially very specific to my dream of working in forensics. I chose to double major because I was very interested in how science is utilized within the realm of criminal justice. Throughout my time at USC, however, I became fascinated by analytical chemistry and my interests broadened beyond solely forensic applications.

My favorite chemistry classes were Instrumental Analysis (CHEM 621), especially the lab, taught by Professor Stanley Angel and Quantitative Analysis (CHEM 322) taught by Professor Susan Richardson.  I thoroughly enjoyed the lab activities in both courses and thought it was extremely interesting to learn the theory behind each experiment during class. It is hard to choose a favorite professor in this department. 

There are so many amazing people doing incredible work and it is truly inspiring to be surrounded by their passion.

Each professor is eager to share their experiences and knowledge with their students.

Outside of the classroom, I was able to engage in so many diverse experiences. During my first two years, I was a member of the Carolina Girls Dance Team and spent my weekends cheering on the Gamecocks. I joined Alpha Chi Omega and Carolina Judicial Council during my sophomore year and became an undergraduate research assistant during my junior year. Over the past two years, I have worked in Professor Stephen Morgan's forensic analytical chemistry lab working on a historical preservation project. I was a Magellan Scholar and was able to present this research at the Southeastern Undergraduate Research Conference, the Symposium on Research Computing Infrastructure, and Discover USC. I am an Honors College student and recently completed and defended my senior thesis. I also graduated with Leadership Distinction in Research.

After graduation, I will be teaching high school chemistry in Phoenix through Teach for America. I will be pursuing a masters degree in education while teaching. I also plan to attend graduate school for analytical chemistry after my two-year commitment and hope to work in forensic analytical chemistry in the future, either in toxicology or arson/explosives analysis.