The Mays Group: Summer 2011

Michael Amolins

Michael Amolins

Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
Degrees: 2007, B.A. (ACS Chemistry) Augustana College; 2009, M.S., Medicinal Chemistry, The University of Kansas

Michael is currently working as a research associate in the Mays laboratory. After graduating from Lincoln High School in 2003, Michael spent many years touring as a heavy metal drummer before attending Augustana College, where he completed a B.A. in Chemistry. In August of 2007, he entered the graduate program in Medicinal Chemistry at The University of Kansas where he worked full time in a cancer research laboratory to design, synthesize, and biologically evaluate cancer chemotherapeutics. After graduating in 2009, Michael entered the work force as a tattoo artist, and as a chemistry and physics teacher at Harrisburg High School in Harrisburg, SD. In addition to his interest in science and body art, Mike is an avid saxophone player, and is currently a member of the Dakota Wind Ensemble, the South Dakota Jazz Orchestra, and The Beatles. He also loves spending time with his family and friends.

Zachary Erickson

Zachary Erickson

Hometown: Anoka, MN
Major(s): Chemistry, Music

Zachary comes to Augustana from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. This fall he will be a senior, majoring in chemistry and music. As a musician, he plays french horn in the St. Olaf Band and is an active piano accompanist. In addition to chemistry and music, Zachary enjoys swing dancing, computer programming, cooking, running and reading. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry. During the summer of 2011, Zachary's research centered on synthesizing isothiocyanates functionalized with electron-deficient aromatic rings.

Joseph Keppen

Joseph Keppen

Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
Major(s): ACS Chemistry

Joe grew up in Sioux Falls, and after attending UNL for two years he upgraded to Augustana, here he will be a senior this fall. When not pursuing his degree in Chemistry, he enjoys spending time with his family, kayaking, finding wild berries, hunting for morel and sulfur shelf mushrooms, biking, hammocking, and if the opportunity presents itself, scuba diving. Joe’s project goal is to find a way to synthesize the precursor to a non-natural heterocyclic glucosinolate.

Elle Tornberg

Ruthellen "Elle" Tornberg

Hometown: Harrisburg, SD
Major(s): ACS Biochemistry

Originally from the hood of Harrisburg, SD, Elle will be a sophomore at Augustana College this fall, majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Math. She is also involved in piano performance, the SMACs club, and the Augie Outdoor Club. During her spare time, Elle enjoys running, playing the blues on the guitar, rock climbing, horseback riding, and diving into a good novel. Upon graduation, Elle is considering attending medical school or pursuing a graduate degree in medicinal chemistry. During the summer of 2011, Elle's research involved the synthesis and evaluation of novel isothiocyanates.

Kayla Vastenhout

Kayla Vastenhout

Hometown: Dell Rapids, SD
Major(s): Chemistry

This fall, Kayla will be a senior at Augustana College majoring in chemistry. She serves as the co-president of the Augustana Student Members of the American Chemical Society and is a laboratory and stockroom assistant in the chemistry department. Kayla is also a member of the Augustana Viking Days Committee and serves as the parade co-chair. During her spare time, Kayla enjoys swimming, biking, playing volleyball, and going for walks. Upon graduation, Kayla plans to pursue a career in forensic chemistry. Her research involved the synthesis and RP-HPLC monitored hydrolysis of non-natural glucosinolates.