Mastering Chemistry at LSU | LSU Chemistry

Mastering Chemistry at LSU


David Dunaway

BS (LSU '92), MS (LSU '94)
LSU Middleton Library

David DunawayDavid Dunaway grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and attended Baker High School. His interest in science started at a young age after receiving his first chemistry set for Christmas when he was six years old.  He then recalls receiving a new set almost every year after up until he was in high school. David graduated from Baker High School in 1977.

David enrolled in Louisiana State University in 1986 as a chemistry major.  As an undergraduate student, David worked in the chemistry department sponsored tutoring room as a tutor for three years. He credits his time as a student tutor as the most impactful and enjoyable experience during his undergraduate training.  David received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry in 1992.

Following graduation, David enrolled in the LSU Chemistry doctoral studies program and joined the McCarley research group. His graduate research focused on creating self-assembled monolayers on silicon substrates with Atomic Force Microscopy. His contributions lead to the publication of three papers and a book chapter.

After two years in the graduate program, David decided to change his career path and pursue his passion for teaching.  It was his experience as a student tutor that influenced him to pursue a Master of Education degree and teach high school chemistry and physics.  David taught Chemistry I, II and II AP at Baton Rouge High from 1995-1997, Chemistry and Physics at the East Baton Rouge Arts and Technology Charter school from 2003 to 2006, and worked at the Center for Math and Science Literacy at LSU (now the Cain Center) from 1997-2000 and 2006 to 2008. 

In addition to curriculum and instruction, David pursued a Master of Library and Information Science degree.  David transitioned into a new career at LSU’s Middleton Library as the Patent & Trademark Librarian from 2012 to 2015.  He then moved into the Science Librarian position from 2015 to present. In his current position, David serves as the liaison librarian to the College of Science and Coast & Environment.  He also conducts classroom instruction for the use of library resources, evaluation of information sources as well as one on one consultation with students and faculty.  David also administers the e-textbook program identifying eBooks that the Libraries’ can purchase for courses so students don’t have to pay for textbooks.  Furthermore, he manages collection development in the science areas by selecting eBook and print books for the Middleton Library collection.

When asked for advice to give to current students in the chemistry department at LSU, David stated, “Keep an open mind about career paths after you graduate.  You never know where life will take you so be willing to take chances and try new things.” 

Previous Alumni Spotlights

Holmes profile picture

F. Chester Holmes

BS Arkansas A&T; MS LSU ‘41

Ethyl Corporation
(deceased 1998)

F. Chester Holmes received a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Arkansas A&M College (now the University of Arkansas at Monticello). At A&M, Chester met his wife, Clara Campbell, who earned a BA in History. Chester and Clara Holmes were first generation college students. They moved to Baton Rouge, where they studied at LSU toward masters degrees in their respective fields. Chester’s advisor was Dr Edward Amis, who left LSU a few years later to spend the majority of his academic career at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Chester’s thesis was titled, “Dielectric and Solvent Effects Upon the Rate of Sucrose Inversion by Hydrochloric Acid.” Upon graduation from LSU in 1941, Chester was hired by Ethyl Corporation (now Albemarle) in Baton Rouge and spent his entire career there. He retired as "Chief Chemist" in the 1970s. He passed away in 1998 at age 92. Clara died in 2013, at age 101.
 Paul Buras portrait

Paul  Buras

BS (LSU '75), MS (LSU '79)

Formally Retired, New Orleans, LA, 
Consultant for Heidelberg Cement

Paul Buras was a National Merit Scholar at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. Between his junior and senior year in high school, he attended an NSF Summer Science Training Program led by Dr Clyde Day at LSU. Paul says, “this experience really turned me on to science and I decided to major in chemistry.” He was awarded a “Top 100” Scholarship to LSU, turning down full ride offers to Rice and MIT. He completed his BS in 1975 and stayed on at LSU for an MS with Dr C. P. Keszthelyi, having been promised this could be achieved in 18 months, and with the intent of going to medical school.  
 Dupont portrair

Dr. H. Dupont Durst
BS (LSU ’65),  MS (LSU ‘67)

PhD University of Minnesota, 1970
LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction, 2018

H. Dupont Durst received his BS from LSU in 1965, engaging in undergraduate research, with Professor Bill Patrick, on the inorganic chemistry of soils. Durst describes “Dr Pat” as an “incredible man and a tremendous mentor.” Durst went on to earn an MS in Biochemistry at LSU, completing a thesis under the direction of Gerald Risinger, “On the Mechanism of the Thiamine Catalyzed Reductive Dimerization of Farnesyl Pyrophosphate to Squalene.” As a graduate student in the laboratory of Edward Leete at the University of Minnesota, he investigated the biosynthesis of terpenoids and alkaloids, including the synthesis of isotopically labeled intermediates. In collaboration with Richard Borch, he introduced the cyanoborohyride anion as a reducing agent and demonstrated the dependence of functional group selectivity on pH. Indeed, a 1971 paper remains one of his most highly cited: “The Cyanoborohydridoborate Anion as a Selective Reducing Agent” (with Borch and Bernstein, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1971, 93, 2897-2904). Durst received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1970.