Texas Tech University

Alumni Highlights

Dr. Roya Baghi

Roya Baghi

Dr. Roya Baghi, a 2017 Ph.D. graduate from Dr. Hope-Week's research group, has received an appointment with the TTU Waco campus. TTU Waco is co-located within the McClennan Community College campus in Waco, TX. Dr. Baghi will be teaching organic chemistry and upper division courses and coordinating labs for TTU Waco.

Prof. Rui Sun

Rui Sun

Rui Sun received his B.S. degree in Chemistry in 2009 from Shandong University in China. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas Tech University in 2014, working with Dr. William L. Hase on studying gas phase reactions mechanism and solvent effect in condensed phase reaction with ab initio molecular dynamics simulation. He then worked as a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Gregory A. Voth at the University of Chicago developing enhanced sampling methodology to assist biophysical simulations and biochemical reactions. During his postdoctoral appointment, Rui also collaborated with Eli Lilly and Company working on small molecule drug permeation with the support of its Scientific and Technical Advisory Board Award. Rui joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry in August 2017.

Heather Coats

Heather Coats

Heather Coats, a recent graduate from the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department (M.S. in Chemical Education, August 2016), is currently employed by the Center for the Integration of STEM Education & Research (CISER) here at Texas Tech. She serves as the Traveling Lab and STEM Outreach Coordinator for the Center. CISER provides active-learning STEM activities and laboratories for K-12 area schools, as well as professional development for K-12 teachers. She collaborates with faculty and educators across our TTU campus and the community to bring exciting STEM opportunities to Texas Tech and area schools. For more information about this program, please contact Heather at: heather.coats@ttu.edu

Dr. Austin Privett


Austin Privett graduated from TTU with a Ph.D. in August 2015 for his studies conducted under the direction of Prof. Jorge Morales. Austin is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. As a graduate student, Austin was awarded the 2016 Song Prize for his Ph.D. dissertation entitled: Electron Nuclear Dynamics: Resolution of Electronic States, Extension to Direct Ionization, and the Irradiation of Biomolecules in Proton Cancer Therapy.

Dr. Peng Li


He was a former student in the Pappas research group, has accepted a faculty position in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry at the University of West Virginia. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2012, Dr. Peng Li accepted a postdoc position at the Pennsylvania State University under the supervision of Prof. Tony Jun Huang, where his research focused on studying surface acoustic wave (SAW) microfluidics and its biomedical applications. He developed a series of acoustic based methods that can manipulate cells in a non-contact and biocompatible way, including controlling cell-cell interactions, isolating circulating tumor cells from cancer patients, etc.

Walter Wever


He was one of our own undergraduate students, who did undergraduate research in Prof. Korzeniewski's lab. He graduated with a BS in Chemistry in 2008, magna cum laude, and with a GPA of 3.845. Already clearly a talented student, he went on to do an organic-based MS degree in our department with Prof. Guigen Li, graduating in August 2011 with a perfect 4.0 GPA. By that point, however, his interests had shifted to medicinal chemistry. So, Walter began a new Ph.D. program at Purdue University, which by some measures has the best medicinal chemistry program in the nation. Later, he transferred to the UNC Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy, which also has a nationally ranked medicinal chemistry program. During these years, Walter managed to get a few JACS publications under his belt. Walter will receive his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from UNC this summer 2016, after which he already has a prestigious postdoctoral position lined up with Dr. Elliot Chaikof at Harvard Medical School! Well done, Walter!